Are you sure you are not overpaying for your utilities? Every month, you pay a few hundred (or a few thousand) dollars to the utility company for the power you used. Where does that number come from? Is it different every month? How do you know that number is correct?
To dig deeper, we have to take a look at the meter readings and charges your utility company uses to generate your invoices.
Here are the most common reasons for incorrect utility billing:
1. There Are Problems with Your Utility Meters
Issues you could have with your meters themselves range from installation errors to communication failures. Meter installations are not usually verified, and if they are they are not checked again after the initial installation. When is the last time you checked your meters to verify that they are working correctly? If the only data you receive about your energy consumption is through your utility bills, there might not be enough information for you to notice there is a problem. Meters don’t break too often, but you should still ask your utility company to come check them once in a while.
2. There Are Meter Reading Problems
Even if the meters themselves are working properly, there might be a problem with the data being communicated to the utility company. If it is on a slight error, the utility company won’t notice, but you will certainly be affected if your bills start going up. Therefore, it’s good to use some sort of verification method to make sure these problems don’t go unnoticed.
Real-time data collected through pulse outputs can be a great way to ensure that your utility bills truly reflect your consumption. If there is a discrepancy, you can look back and see if there was actually a spike in your consumption that you need to pay for, or if your bill is an inaccurate representation of what you used.
3. The Rates Are Inaccurate
If you have ever taken a look at the rates charged by your utility company, you know it’s no easy formula. Rates change depending on the season and the time of day. Additionally, you have to pay for peak demand, where you are billed an extra amount for your highest spike in usage over the month.
Although the invoicing process is complicated, it’s not impossible to figure out or keep track of, and it is definitely worth verifying. With real-time data analytics, you can see your energy consumption spikes and make sure they match what you are billed for.
At the end of the day, power meters are generally reliable. Metering technologies have significantly improved over the last decade, making them cheaper and easier to install, meaning more meters have been installed. With a rapid increase in installations, mistakes are bound to happen, and it’s on you to verify that the readings are accurate, and you are being billed correctly. And hey, you might even find that the data inspires you to take action and reduce your energy bills.