Gas companies are constantly changing meters for a number of reasons. Some become dysfunctional while others have to be exchanged periodically based on Government certification standards. Sometimes these meter exchanges are not completed properly and as a result, one customer may be paying the bill for the usage of their neighbor and vice versa. Normally you may not be able to identify this issue if you are simply comparing cost figures because seasonal and yearly rates will fluctuate and an increase in cost might be normal. You have to also compare usage to identify issues such as this.
We recently discovered that a particular location seemed to have had a substantial increase in their gas usage when compared to the previous years. Through our investigation, it was determined that there were no physical changes at the location regarding the envelope of the building and there were no changes to the hours of operation or standard temperature that was being maintained within the building.
- We pulled the last few years of gas usage data and normalized the figures, so that weather conditions from year to year were factored out of the equation.
- Upon reviewing this data, it showed that the store had used approximately 20% more gas within the current year then it had for the average of the previous years.
- We requested that our client’s heating vendor investigate lines for leaks and confirm such things as meter numbers for our client’s and neighboring units and line flow from those meters.
Results of Investigation
It was determined by the heating technician that there were no leaks, but the meter that our client had been billed for was in fact supplying the neighboring tenant. Upon further discussions with the utility, it was determined that meters for this plaza had been exchanged the previous summer and during that work, the technician filled out his paperwork incorrectly and reversed the two meter numbers for our client and their neighbor. Therefore since the meter exchange, the two customers were actually paying for each other’s gas usage.
The utility corrected the billing errors and as our client’s location had a smaller footprint and was not open as long as the other tenant (they were a 24 hour retailer) the recovery for our client was $28,000.
As previously mentioned above, most companies may have viewed this increase as a straight cost issue and simply budgeted for the coming year(s) accordingly. By doing so, they would have continued to pay the higher amount until either their neighbor discovered the issue or the utility completed an exchange on the same meters again and hopefully got the meter numbers correct. If left to the utility to discover, this could have taken years and the funds may never have been recovered. Could you possibly be paying for your neighbor’s bills? Contact us and let Powerhouse help you regain peace of mind.