FAQ

Everything you ever wanted to know about utility audits. answered right here.

utility audit FAQ and how it works

Have you ever wondered why your utility bill might be higher some months than others? Or that your utility bill costs continue to skyrocket, even if you’re watching your usage?

Even the most simplest of utility bills has hidden pricing that you as the company owner or comptroller may not understand.

Sumerlan takes the guesswork out of your utility bill by breaking down your charges, and yes, potentially getting you a refund from the prior 36 months of use for any overages.

Utility Bill Savings Made Easy

Your utility bills are a large part of your company's overall expenses. And did you know your utility providers have no incentive to lower the amount of money you pay them for the electricity, natural gas, water, sewer or telecom they provide. Sumerlan's utility bill audit is a comprehensive review of all utility charges, often times uncovering thousands of dollars in realized savings from overcharges. Three out of five companies that work with Sumerlan save money and some as much as thirty percent.

By helping thousands of companies over the last 20 years, Sumerlan has the experience to get your company true and lasting savings on the utilities you need. Our experience includes working with Florida companies since 2002. By auditing utility bills from providers like Peoples Gas, Duke, Progress Energy, Florida Power and Light, and Orlando Utility Company we have saved companies just like yours millions in utility cost overages over the years. This is money that is now being redirected to our clients' bottom line.

Can Sumerlan Really Lower Electric Bills?

How many times have you thought - How can I lower our electric bill. Especially, if you are a manufacturing company your electric bill can be a significant percent of your monthly expenditures. If you are like most of us this is a monthly reoccurring thought. Commonly, when we think about lowering your electric bills, you think about ways for improving efficiency or ways to run our equipment less. However, for a manufacturing company, running your equipment less is not an option and is often counter productive.

An Electric Bill Audit is The Real Answer

Most companies are familiar with the idea of spending money to get a return. Afterall, an investment in equipment over time will pay for itself, etc. Unfortunately, this mentality is often used when thinking about lowering utility bills. However, this is very often not the best approach. An electric bill audit will often do more to lower your bill than buying new equipment.

Many companies will purchase things like capacitors to save on demand charges. While capacitors do bring up the power factor, the penalties often don't go down enough to justify the expense. The payoff may not occur for many years down the road. The same result is common with lighting retrofit. On the other hand, a utility bill audit can deliver savings with no money down deliver results almost instantaneously. The lowest hanging fruit is found in the bill itself. Just think about all of charges found on your bill. What if one or two of them could be eliminated? What if a refund from such were in order? The money could and usually does really add up fast.

For Example: We have seen situations where a company can simply change the way it is being billed for a transformer and save hundreds as a result. Something as simple as changing the rate schedule can save companies literally thousands per month. Therefore, a lower electric bill is more likely to occur with a utility bill audit than with buying expensive equipment.

Why Should Our Company Have Utility Bills Audited

As a business owner you have a million things to do, it can be said that on any given day you wear "many hats". You become quite proficient at everything from strategic planning, operations management, shipping and receiving, even a little baby sitting and taking out the trash. It cannot be said that you do not earn your keep. However, can you really be expected to be all seeing and all knowing in every facet of your business? Just like you hire a lawyer or an accountant or a secretary for that matter there are things you probably should delegate. A utility bill audit is one of them; this should be delegated to someone or a company who knows the ins and outs of electric and gas bills and the utility providers' tariff.

Often times, an electric or gas bill audit will result in savings. These savings can be a monthly drop in fees associated with how you are being charged on a per unit, i.e., kWh, kW, kVA, or therm basis. These savings might come as a refund or combination of both. Experts estimate that at least 50% of all manufacturing, governmental, and non-profit organizations are being overcharged each month. Refunds can amount to thousands of dollars even for the smallest of companies. Most overcharges are recurring, which can really add up over time, the refunds associated with these can go back thirty-six months. Most bill auditing companies do not charge unless they can save you money. Their fee is usually based on a split (50% is common) of the savings. Therefore, having the audit done is really a risk-free endeavor; so the next time you are approached by one of these auditing companies, don't be quick to dismiss their merits, as what they are offering is a legitimate opportunity to save you money on your utility costs.

There are many ways to save on your company's utility bills, but it starts with an auditLighting Retrofit-Can you economically replace old lighting with new more efficient lighting? Can windows be used more effectively?
  • Erroneous Charges and Electric Bill Riders-Are all of your charges on your bill legitimate. Are there taxes that could be exempted? Is there an environmental fee that could be eliminated? Are you paying for a certain size meter that you no longer have. This is where you can really save a lot of money on your electric bill because when you discover an overcharge, you will generally qualify for a refund as well.

Of course, this list is not comprehensive in ways to save on electric bill. However, some of these could add up to save your company thousands on their monthly bill. It might be something that is very easy to implement or it may be as easy as sending your utility a letter explaining why you should be on a different rate schedule.

How to effectively reduce your company utility costs

In order to reduce the cost of something as complicated as your electricity, you need to become an informed customer.

All utilities companies are regulated by some entity or another and as such are required to produce written documents relating to the explanation of their pricing and methods of billing.

As a customer, it is up to you to become informed about their methods and rates. This written document that the utility produces to lay out its various pricing, billing methods, and rules, i.e. rate schedules and explanations of charges, is called a tariff.

You can usually find these savings methods hidden away somewhere on the utility's website.

Understanding Your Utility Bill

When you think about your electric bill, you probably like most people, get very intimidated. With its many different line items charges, references to meter numbers and account numbers, rate schedule codes, etc. The electric bill can be very hard to understand and when you try to implement ways to save, how will you know when what you have done has worked?

Before you can accurately analyze an electric bill and determine ways to reduce it, an understanding of the items being charged on it is a must. Sometimes, the bill itself and the items thereon and furthermore the way these items are being charged and manipulating them are the easiest and best way of reducing your electric bill.

Rarely, does one utility company bill the same as another. Some items are billed by one company and not by another and so on. The electric rates schedule spells out which charges are being billed and at what rate.

For example, your price per kilowatt hour might be 10 cents or 5 cents depending on your rate. There are some basic rate classifications and distinctions that will likely be present and billed for by most utilities companies. Each of these billing distinctions will depend upon the rate schedule classification you are on.

With Sumerlan utility audits: help is on the way!

You are a manufacturing company that spends several thousand dollars each month on utility costs and would like to know if you are getting a "fair price" from your utility providers.

Each month you get your statement of charges that are often so complicated that even after very little scrutiny you surrender to the unavoidable fact that you are helpless in determining whether each charges is valid and then just pay it.

In the back of your mind you have always wondered if erroneous charges do exist and if so, are they widespread?

Believe it or not, you are among the vast majority of utility customers who repeat this ritual every month. Sumerlan is the answer and exists as a direct result of the need for guidance in this area. Sumerlan has mastered the art of cutting through the convoluted mess of the common utility bill.

You have questions about utility audits. Sumerlan has answers.

Read through our FAQ and if you have any questions not answered here, please send us a message and we’ll reply faster than you expect.

Utilty of Concern

How Much Are You Owed?

Let Sumerlan take the guesswork out of your utility costs. Find out just how much you may be overpaying, and if you’re company is being overbilled.