Autopay Utility Bills – just say NO!

Taking time out to sit down to pay your water or electric bill may at first seem like an onerous chore, even the utility companies and others encourage automatic payment through pay or direct debt payment of your bills to help make your life simpler but does it?  Your bill is one way to monitor your water and energy consumption. “If your electricity bill is high,  maybe it means the air conditioning is operating overnight” Herbert says.  Having to check the bill every month can be tiresome but it’s the first step to manage energy consumption.  Another great idea is try and predict your bill for the next month,  once you have the prediction write it down, its important to write your prediction, in the office get your colleagues involved, at home get your family involved.

energy bill sample by CLP bulk tariff

SAMPLE CHINA LIGHT POWER Electricity bill from www.clpgroup.com

From the professional energy management perspective monthly billing is too coarse, over the billing period there are too many variables to consider. We recommend weekly monitoring,  and predictions of next weeks energy consumption.

Let me share a true story from here in Hong Kong,  a property management company managed a high rise residential property. Bills arrived (for the common areas) and were paid.  Then they received a water bill  approx. HK$ 160,000 – many  times higher than normal.  Shocked and certain it was not their problem they requested the Water Authority to check there water meter – that was the second mistake to assume it must be a meter problem, the first mistake was not monitoring consumption.

Time passes, the next water bill arrived it was higher, HK$ 220,000, again much higher than normal. Eventually, the Water Authority reported back, no fault with the metering or billing.   You have probably guessed, it was a water leak within the development after the meter. It’s a timely reminder to encourage closer monitoring of all utilities bills, every week, and don’t assume that an abnormally high consumption is a metering problem.  Beyond the professionals in the industry, people automatically assume that it must be a metering problem! Whereas 21st century metering does not suffer from the problems your parents suffered through,  indeed today meters are robust and accurate.

~~~ John Herbert, Consultant

About John A. Herbert, REA, energy consultant, BEAM Pro

John is director of energyLAB energy consultants firm, he has with more than 30 years engineering experience gained across three continents. He is Registered Energy Assessor, a member of HKAEE. Read his blog at http://www.johnherbert.hk
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