The Secret About Utility Companies

Chris Heinz - June 20, 2013

Want to hear a secret about your utility vendor? 

Just watch this 30-second video!

It's true--utility companies make mistakes. They're not perfect. The question is, what are you going to do about it?

Here are some ideas for dealing with your (imperfect) utility company:


  • Expect your utility company to make mistakes. Managing your expectations can be really helpful. Just having an awareness that your utility company makes mistakes will help you to be diligent with your bills. Remember, you're not their only customer, they're not out to get you, and their mistakes aren't personal (unless your ex works there). Realistic expectations will help you to be diligent with your bills and will mitigate feelings of anger when you find an error.

  • Use a tool to help you catch billing errors. The more utility bills you receive, the greater the potential for mistakes. But you don't have to sit idly by while you're being over-billed. You can be proactive. With the right tool, you can eliminate billing errors, even if you receive thousands of bills each month.

  • Promote your wins. Keep track of your refunds and promote them. Your diligence should be celebrated. Let others know that you're watching out for your organization's best interests and because of your efforts, X dollars have been returned. With this said, remember to be gracious as you share your good deeds.

  • Stay humble. If you've never made a mistake, you can ignore this suggestion. But if you have, please remember it. You can pursue refunds and suggest improvements without being demeaning, abrasive, or rude. Treat others like you'd want to be treated. Stay humble and enjoy the rewards that come back to you.


And speaking of rewards, check out these stories about EnergyCAP clients and their utility bills:

Medical Center Gets $195,000 Refund

A medical center at a major California university received a $195,000 utility bill refund, thanks to EnergyCAP’s utility bill auditors. The collection and organization of the medical center’s utility bills revealed that for the past three years, the university had been incorrectly billed for sewage services. A subsequent review by the utility company resulted in the refund of $195,000.

EnergyCAP Finds $90,000 Billing Error
A city energy manager purchased EnergyCAP to manage the City's energy program. According to the energy manager, “We were able to find this $90,000 billing error so quickly thanks to the new EnergyCAP software that has been installed and we were able to find the error BEFORE the paper bill was even opened thanks to the electronic data that PG&E provides us each month.”

School District Receives $1,000,000 Refund
A school district began using EnergyCAP to track its utility bills. The software spotted an $873,000 over-billing. The error was reported, and the school district received its money back--plus interest. Instead of $873,000, it received a $1,000,000 refund!

So keep an eye on your utility bills. And let us know when you have a story to share!

Topics: Client Savings

Chris Heinz

About the Author
Chris Heinz

Chris is Vice President of Human Resources for EnergyCAP, Inc., which helps organizations get value from their utility bills through energy management software. He's an Associate Certified Coach by the International Coach Federation, a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, and a Certified Professional Life Coach. He also started www.Munyay.com to help people love their life and love their work.

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