Recovering the costs of utilities in multi-let premises has long been a headache for landlords, and doing this accurately presents its own set of challenges. In a portfolio consisting of buildings in multiple locations accommodating dozens, or even hundreds of tenants, utility supply can be arriving from numerous providers across electricity, gas and water. It makes it time consuming and complicated to apportion energy costs to tenants, and to do this accurately and transparently.
Creating a bespoke Utility Bill means that you and your tenants will have a formal/standardised historic record of how energy usage/costs fluctuate from month to month so significant deviations can be investigated and tenants have visibility of exactly how their energy bills are being calculated.
In general, it is widely acknowledged that once individuals/businesses have direct visibility of their energy consumption they are more likely to strive towards controlling/reducing their usage leading to potential cost savings for you/your tenants, and a resulting positive impact on your carbon footprint.
1- Where do I find the new Utility Bill functionality in my Wattics dashboard?
2- What features does the report contain?
3- How to configure your report
4- Utility Bill
5- Use cases
*You should have Admin rights for managing reports. If you require access, please request this from the administrators associated with your Wattics account. You can request that the reporting feature be enabled in your dashboard. Note: If the reports feature is enabled in your dashboard as a non-admin user, the reports will only be visible to you and cannot be associated with another user: only users with admin privileges can associate reports to multiple users.
Log in to the dashboard and click on ‘Admin’ in the top left menu, then click on the ‘Reports’’ icon on the top right corner to access the report management page:
You can now begin putting together the specific information to configure your report:
The report will now be created for each site active within the users’ dashboard and sent to them by e-mail every month based on your settings
2- What features does the report contain?
The utility bill is a report that resembles a utility bill sent out by energy suppliers and can be imported to the Wattics dashboard. Using the bill as a guide you can create a customised template that can include information such as amount paid, amount outstanding or due, tax name and associated percentage, and cost per meter etc. Comments can also be added to the bill and you are able to choose their location either to the left or bottom of the bill.
The bill can be further customised by adding information and costs e.g. you can choose where your unit rate is pulled from whether using your flat rate over the billing period, or dashboard tariffs based on time-of-use; insert three types of peak demand charges e.g. peak demand for kW and peak demand for kVA in 15 or 30 minute intervals; and charges for services rendered that can be set up daily or monthly. Cost meters can also be individually itemised in your bill, if you have set them up as data points.
3- Configure your report
You can now begin putting together the information needed to configure your report.
*Please note that you need to select 'Add section' in order to access the billing fields, as seen in Fig. 5 below
Summary of fields that can be completed to set up your Utility Bill:
Summary of items that may be included in your bill under Quantity:
4. Utility Bill
5. Use cases
i. Basic use case
Cost per meter is especially helpful for managing recharging, as where you have a multi-tenant building, you can send out bills with the exact cost breakdown per tenant/apartment/business based on the unit rates you select. In addition you can simply add additional charges e.g. you may wish to include a charge for smart meter lease, daily refuse collection, general maintenance etc. Once set up, these will churn out every month without further intervention required - unless of course, you would like to make new changes, saving you time and money associated with administrative costs.
If you have sub metering in place, this data can simply be linked to your bill - and include how you would like your costs to be calculated as outlined in this article. In other cases where sub metering is lacking you could consider dividing the underlying consumption proportionally between tenants; or perhaps make a calculation using our Formula Composer that bases the energy split on floor area, occupancy, hours of use, or perhaps how the space is used. These methods are naturally much less accurate than having solid submeter data; however, it nevertheless offers some degree of refinement to how you apportion your energy charges.
ii. Advanced use case
You can customise your Utility Bill further by using our Formula Composer function to create ‘Cost meters’ by building custom formulas. This allows you to present a more accurate reflection of your tariff structure and rates, and to include these costs as itemised values in your bill.
One example of how this could be used is if you are charged for the supply delivered as well as the pure cost of the energy used. In this instance, you could not only elect by which tariff rate you wish to multiply overall consumption to arrive at a usage cost, but also pass on the cost of actually receiving the supply by adding this on. Another example, would be accurately reflecting costs based on supplier rates that vary depending on levels of consumption i.e. if usage goes above a certain level at some time then the unit rate rises.
View an example of how to configure a Utility Bill using the Formula Composer:
For further information on how to generate a Utility Bill for your sites, please don’t hesitate to contact our support team:
If this article is your first introduction to Wattics, and you would like to find out more about the Utility Bill tool & other reports available though the energy analytics dashboard, book a free demo of the platform using the button below: