by Nicole Bushong and Matthew Mattingly
We live in an age of automation.
Manual processing has been eliminated; replaced by technology improvements that are both quicker and more efficient. Of course you don’t need an energy consulting firm to tell you this simple fact. Just look around in your daily lives to see how much faster you communicate, receive data or share information than a decade ago. Or, if you really want to appreciate the current technological environment, watch a 90s movies (i.e. Speed) and wonder how the world worked with payphones, VHS tapes, fax machines and walkie talkies. It makes you wonder how anything ever got done 20 years ago. Our culture today is simply running at a faster pace, coinciding with vast improvements with technology and automation.
When we want something, we want it NOW!
So, it is imperative for businesses to embrace automation and technology improvements to separate themselves from their competition. At Choice! Energy Services, we not only embrace automation for our own business, but we also provide automation solutions to our clients. Through our bill management platform, CESConnect, we have provided our clients seven unique ways to improve time and save money…
1. Reduce Costs
Automation allows us to take mundane tasks out of the hands of our clients, which frees up time to focus on more important tasks in the workplace. CESConnect reports on performance against budget and optimizes operating expenses. The platform rids you of backtracking purchasing decisions.
2. Make Processes Faster
There’s no question automated processes run a lot faster than manual processes. CESConnect eliminates the hassles of logging into hundreds of online portals, deciphering different billing formats, wasting time typing and creating spreadsheets. It also allows you to receive all of your invoice data electronically immediately after an invoice is created.
3. Provide Consistency
Automation ensures processes are consistently carried out, eliminating the possibility of forgetting a step or cutting a corner. Since data transfer between CESConnect and Energy Star Portfolio Manager is automatic, Portfolio Manager is always up-to-date with the latest utility bill data received for all enrolled properties. Likewise, CESConnect will always be up-to-date with each property’s benchmark performance.
4. Reduce Errors
Humans make mistakes. It’s a fact of life. Choice Energy Services’ invoice validation will help identify errors, allowing for reconciliation. Once errors are identified they are communicated directly back to the client in a detailed report. If savings are recovered, 100% of the recovered savings belong to the client (no shared savings). Choice evaluates the following invoice errors:
- Billing errors
- Late fees
- Improper rate charges
- Supplier bill vs. supplier contract
- Meter read estimates
- Usage anomalies
All these steps ensure the quality and reliability of your energy and utility data.
5. Make Metrics Easier to Track
Our CESConnect system makes tracking energy and billing metrics easier than ever. It allows customers to manage all utility invoice data for power, natural gas, water, sewer and trash across regulated and deregulated regions. Since CES Connect is built in–house, we have the capacity to customize settings and reporting capabilities for our clients, including customized csv reports that can be provided on a client’s specific schedule.
6. Improve Organization
CES Connect provides our clients with substantial reporting tools to easily manage all utility invoice data. The tools include: cost & usage reporting & notifications, energy star reporting & metrics, budgeting, contract management & expiration notification, while housing the actual invoice and contract documents. Additionally, all of your billing and usage information can be viewed online, saved to file or downloaded from CES Connect into Excel format.
7. Centralize Communication
Automation ensures the information you need is automatically sent where you need it. CESConnect provides a centralized space to access your energy management data. Also, our clients electronically receive all of their invoice data immediately after an invoice is created, without any mailing or processing delay.