5 Utility Billing Mistakes That Are Hurting Your Cost Recovery

Posted by Livable Content Team on Apr 11, 2022 7:00:00 AM

Utility cost-recovery is essential to a property owner’s bottom line, even a simple mistake in your billing system can end up costing thousands. Here are the five most common utility billing errors owners make and how to fix them.

 

1. USING THE WRONG SUBMETER SUPPLIER

Submeters work by sending out pulses that represent the amount of utility consumed. You must obtain the raw read from the meter in order to determine the true consumption of a unit. To acquire genuine gallon amounts, multiply by the pulse multipliers.

This is where things start to get complicated. Between submeters, the pulse multiplier varies. A meter's pulse could be one, indicating that one pulse corresponds to one gallon. However, one pulse per 10 or 100 gallons is possible.

It's simple to figure out what your submeter multiplier is. However, there is a large margin for error. A single missing zero could indicate that residents are being overcharged or undercharged.

This problem can be avoided by doing thorough due diligence while setting up your utility billing system. While multipliers do not change, it is always a good idea to double-check billing accuracy every month. This is why so many property managers or owners partner with Livable.

 

2. NOT VERIFYING UTILITY RATES

Only by using the correct utility rate can a utility bill be accurate. The issue is that utility rates fluctuate a lot. If the rate rises but you don't bill residents accordingly, you'll be responsible for the difference. Verifying prices is just too simple to overlook, requiring only a monthly check for each utility.

 

3. NOT MONITORING LEAKS

The best way to keep leaks from taking a toll on your finances is to have a regular maintenance schedule including checks, and conduct repairs before things get out of hand.

 

4. USING WRONG RUBS FACTOR

Ratio Utility Billing Systems like Livable’s are designed for properties that are unable to use submeters due to physical or practical constraints.

However, RUBS is more complicated than simply dividing your utility expenses by an easy as pie ratio. To generate a bill that tenants will pay, sophisticated ratios and precise adjustments are used via our top-of-the-line software.

A Livable utility bill can be distributed in a variety of ways. It might be based on the number of tenants or the number of bedrooms. Then there's ratio occupancy, which translates the number of occupants in a unit to a billing number of occupants. More complex allocation mechanisms, such as metered consumption, are also available.

With so many allocation options, it can be hard to know exactly what RUBS factor to use for your property. And selecting the wrong one can hurt your cost recovery.

Not to worry, a utility billing company like Livable (with our excellent customer service) can help you customize your RUBS Program to suit your specific needs.

 

5. SENDING UTILITY BILLS LATE

Cost recovery is hampered by late invoicing. Residents who are expected to pay on time are thrown off when utility bills arrive late.

Livable allocates for water, sewer, trash, and more based on multiple factors to ensure, fair, accurate, and automated billing is sent directly to your residents. With this customizable system utility bills can be sent out directly to your residents. 

 

Want an insider's look into Livable’s customizable system that allocates water, sewer, trash, and more? Connect here with our experts and we will give you an overview of exactly what a RUBS would look like for you and your properties.

RUBS utility billing ratio utility billing cost recovery