• Why are plant costs so important to utilities?

    Your utility’s list of expenses for this month has just been approved for payment. If one of these expenses was for buying electricity or chemicals, you’d pay the bill and that would pretty much be the end of it. But if you purchased materials for use in the construction of an electric line or water main extension, buying supplies is only the first step when following proper accounting procedures. Why is plant accounting so complicated in the utility industry?
  • Fixed asset management best practices for utilities

    Fixed asset management practices vary across the spectrum, from basic tracking of fixed asset items to the adoption of an asset life cycle methodology. Best practices are detailed in the ISO 55000 guide, Asset Management, which details standards gaining acceptance in the public and private sectors.
  • Conservation’s impact on water and wastewater revenues

    If your utility is like the vast majority of water and wastewater utilities nationwide, your customers are buying less water from you than they have in the past. The magnitude and duration of the reduction varies, but the fact is that customers are continually developing ways to conserve one of life’s most precious commodities and it’s a safe bet that the trend will continue.
  • Are 100 percent of your utility customer bills correct?

    During my presentations on billing, accounting, customer service, and other topics, I will frequently poll the group to see how many of them believe they are billing 100 percent of their customers correctly, 100 percent of the time. If you are in the very limited minority who could proudly and truthfully raise your hand, well done. On the other hand, let’s just say that the very limited number of raised hands tells me that we have a real opportunity to do better.
  • What’s going on with electric utility monthly fixed charges?

    How would you like to pay a fixed charge of $69 per month for your electric service, even if you used no electricity that month? Further, imagine this is $59 more than the $10 you are used to paying. Fixed monthly meter charges are increasing nationwide, much more dramatically than any other component of the typical rate structure. What is causing the change?