Revenue Assurance Audits Equals Found Revenue
How a Small Utility Found $250,000
For one small municipality of approximately 6,000 water meters, lack of accurate data was causing them to lose over $250,000 in water revenue each year. During a recent AMI project, the town underwent a mass meter exchange and implemented a state-of-the-art AMI System. At the same time, the town implemented a new billing system to better integrate their new AMI Head-End to improve the billing accuracy for their water service customers.
When combining the implementation with a billing system migration, the criticality of that revenue protection is exponentially compounded. Changing billing systems is not a simple task, for if the data that is migrated from the legacy system is not accurate, or has not been well maintained, switching to the new system often only compounds the issues that were the catalyst for the switch in the first place. If the migration is not done properly, it can lead to the perception that the AMI system is not meeting its expected performance goals.
Protecting the Utility’s Revenue during an AMI Implementation is absolutely critical in realizing the benefit of Revenue Assurance provided by that AMI System. Raybern Utility Solutions was charged with providing project management for the AMI Head-End Implementation and integration with the new billing system. As a first step in ensuring a seamless integration, we conducted a comprehensive Revenue Assurance audit to ensure the accuracy of the data migrating from the legacy system. The Revenue Assurance audit was a two-phase process which combined a Field Audit to physically locate and verify the accuracy of all metered service data in the field, with a Paper Audit to verify the accuracy of the data maintained in the legacy billing system.
Field Audit – In this phase, we visited the location of each metered service being recorded in the legacy billing system. We captured the GIS coordinates, recorded equipment IDs and sizing and photo verified the accuracy of the data in the billing system records. Additionally, we identified locations in the service area that were not being billed, as well as locations in the service area that were not being billed the appropriate rates for the size of the meter installed at those locations.
Paper Audit – In this phase, we performed a comprehensive analysis of all services and their associated rate structures to identify accounts whose bills were being calculated with incorrect meter sizing, truncation values, billing multipliers, and mis-applied rates.
After conducting the Field and Paper Audits, we generated a report with our findings and presented that report to the municipality, along with recommendations for mitigation to improve the data accuracy during the AMI implementation and integration. By correcting the data and applying our recommendations for mitigation, the municipality was able to recuperate over $250,000 annually. This revenue recuperation helped to offset the cost of the AMI System and billing system migration, without having to raise water rates.
Implementing an AMI System and changing billing systems can be a heavy investment for a forward-thinking utility, especially for a small municipality. Make sure that you can recognize the full value of those systems by ensuring that a Revenue Assurance Audit is part of the implementation process. This can be a daunting task for a Utility to undertake on its own, and Raybern Utility Solutions is positioned with the experience, skills, and resources to bear the weight of such a task while enabling you to protect your investment as you move with the future of technology.