What? Why? How? What is a utility bill clean-up? Why is it important? How can it help you? What’s next?
What is a Utility Bill Clean-up? A thorough review of all utility accounts on a unit Utility accounts are set up in TUMS to facilitate payment by NFC Many utility accounts are not monitored after initial entry; circumstances change and utility accounts should reflect these changes Eliminate idle accounts, verify utility rate structure, verify tax exempt status, verify ownership and payment responsibility
Why Is It Important? Allows reliable energy cost and consumption monitoring Reduces improper payments, usually resulting in savings!
How Can It Help You? Emphasis on reducing energy and water consumption in federal facilities Executive Orders 13423 and 13514 Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) Energy Policy Act of 2005 Baseline of use to assist in decision making Benchmark against which progress can be measured. Eliminates improper payments to simplify data tracking and save money
SOP for Clean-up Process Establish Local Points of Contact Contact Utility Providers Connect Bills to Buildings What to Look For Utility Bill Cleanup Template Case Study What’s Next http://www.fs.fed.us/sustainableoperations/focus-area-energy.shtml#utility
Utilities usually paid through NFC include: Electricity Water Natural gas Sewer Utilities often not paid through NFC include: Fuel oil Propane SOP for Clean-up Process *Please note: ASC is currently performing utility clean-up for communication systems.
Establish Local Points of Contact Line Officer support Team includes: Budget Staff Facilities Engineer Others? Steps: Goals review Collect data Budget Staff – utility information Facility Engineer – buildings information Begin cleanup process…
Contacting Utility Providers Compile list of Utility Providers and POC’s Billing statements contain: Cost Consumption Meter numbers Rate structure Service address One year’s worth of statements
Connect Bills to Buildings Match up accounts in groups by utility company If account # from utility and NFC match, but building name or address does not, correct. If account # or building location/address from TUMS are not on record with utility company, or if one party has a record and other does not, determine which is incorrect and fix it. If # of accounts &/or meters does not match # of buildings, investigate and make sure all service is accounted for.
What to Look For Does FS own or lease the facility? If not owned, work with B&F and NFC to remove FS from responsibility If leased, verify payment responsibility with Leasing CO. Does FS need the service? If not, work with utility to disconnect & stop billing. If needed in the future, disconnect now & reconnect when needed (if cost effective) Is bill responsibility of concessionaire or special use permittee? Transfer payment responsibility to responsible party.
Is the rate structure correct? Verify total amount and peak amount and facility type to determine best rate structure w/ utility. Commercial rates vs. residential rates. If one meter for multiple buildings or entire site, check if individual meters will result in lower rates. If charged a “demand” charge, check on the minimum service size for the “demand” charge. If billed 3-phase power charges, convert to single phase if economical and 3-phase not needed, or convert all 3-phase equipment. What to Look For
Are the bills accurate? Review for invoice accuracy, redundant charges, etc. Verify billing shows tax exempt status, including on leased buildings where FS is responsible for utilities. Look for inconsistencies in rates or monthly charges. Look for late charges. Are seasonal buildings closed down properly? Verify that buildings not used year round are closed down properly. Winterize and turn down the heat. What to Look For
Are you eligible for rebates? If you are planning or have installed energy saving upgrades you may be eligible for rebates. Check www.dsireusa.org for information on incentives available in your state.www.dsireusa.org Are there anomalies in energy use? Look for spikes or anomalies in energy usage: more water in winter than summer, etc. These might not be billing errors but might be valuable information for facility managers. What to Look For
Case Study San Juan NF Findings: 124 utility accounts (natural gas, electric, water, sewer) 56 accounts requiring changes (45%) Top 2 most frequent changes: Change to tax exempt status Disconnect service to conveyed/vacated properties Approximate annual savings realized: $32,000/$171,000 (19%) Monitoring utility costs is a dynamic process Initial cleanup will uncover obvious errors Conveying/vacating facilities and concessionaire/contractor changes are ongoing Link to San Juan Case Study
Western Collective “Utility Bill Clean-up” Team has developed Standard Operating Procedure to provide guidance WO letter encourages units to complete a clean-up Raising awareness for clean-up need and the potential cost savings Action item under Element 10 of Climate Change Scorecard Webinars to assist units with the clean-up process What’s Next
Continuous Improvement: Opportunities to continue to reduce unit’s environmental footprint Guidance for reducing energy and water use, executive orders, and Chief’s “Strategic Framework for Responding to Climate Change” Net Zero guides outlining the next steps Sustainable operations website: www.fs.fed.us/sustaianbleoperations/ www.fs.fed.us/sustaianbleoperations/ YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!!
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