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Jun
12
EnergyCAP Quick Tip - How Billing Periods are Assigned in EnergyCAP
Posted by Becky Brickell on 12 June 2017 09:41 AM

EnergyCAP assigns a Billing Period month automatically so you don’t have to. The assignment is based on a set of logical rules. EnergyCAP uses these rules to determine the billing period month of each bill, regardless of whether it is manually keyed OR imported. Assigning the proper billing period is important since many charts, graphs, and reports in EnergyCAP are based on billing period.

The 'default' rule is that EnergyCAP splits the difference between the Start Date and End Date of the bill to determine billing period; the middle of the bill normally determines the proper billing period month. If the split results in two equal halves with no “center” date, EnergyCAP rounds down to determine the midpoint date of the bill.

EXAMPLE: The billing period begins February 10 and is 30 days long. The midpoint is February 24. The bill is a February bill.

If the number of days in the billing period is greater than 45, then the 'default' logic is still used.

However, IF the billing period is LESS than 45 days, then a second logical step is applied:

  1. IF the default rule results in a billing period month being skipped, and
  2. IF the 'middle-of-the-bill' date is equal to or less than the 5th of the default month, and
  3. IF the bill Start Date is earlier than Day 1 of the 'default' month,
  4. THEN: The billing period month will be moved back one month.

EXAMPLE: The billing period begins February 15 and is 30 days long. No February bill has been identified for this meter this year. The midpoint is March 1 (if it is not a leap year). The bill is a February bill (see logical steps).

Similarly, when there ALREADY exists a bill for THIS month AND the 'middle-of-the-bill' date is equal to or greater than the 26th of THIS month, AND the billing period End Date is greater than Day 1 of the NEXT month, then the billing period will be moved forward a month.

EXAMPLE: The billing period begins February 13 and is 30 days long. The midpoint is February 27. A February bill has already been identified for this meter this year. The bill is a March bill.

NOTE: EnergyCAP only “knows” if a historical billing period is skipped (or present) if the historical bills are added in chronological sequence. This is an EnergyCAP best practice, whether you are keying your bills manually or setting up your import spreadsheet. Make sure the older data is processed first.

If all these rules don’t work for you, EnergyCAP has created alternatives for clients who import their billing data. Beginning with release 3.5.1, the Billing Period column in the import sheet can be used to specify one of four rules for assigning the Billing Period: 

INPUT

RESULT

!AUTO!

Existing logic for billing period assignment will be used to determine billing period (as described above)

!START!

Start Date of the bill will be used to determine billing period

!MIDDLE!

Midpoint of the bill will be used to determine billing period (rounding down if necessary)

!END!

End Date of the bill will be used to determine billing period

For more information on EnergyCAP's billing period logic, see the EnergyCAP Online Documentation.


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Apr
17
EnergyCAP Quick Tip - How Can I Catch Utility Bill Data Entry Errors?
Posted by Joel Brickell on 17 April 2017 08:30 AM

The best way to catch utility bill data entry errors is when the bill is actually being manually entered.

EnergyCAP provides a Quick Check Audit Group that runs a series of related audits whenever you save a bill. Here's how to make sure the Quick Check audits are being run on your bills.

Running the Quick Check Audit Group

  1. Click Administration from the Main Menu.
  2. Click Workflow Settings.
  3. Under the Batches & Audits setting, find the Audit bills with Quick Check Audit group when saved option.
  4. Click the toggle checkbox to turn the option on or off.
    quick-check1.png
  5. When done, scroll to the bottom of the Workflow Settings window and click Save.

You can read more about the Quick Check Audit Group and what the audits look for in our documentation.

Running Audits from Bill Lists

Audits can also be run from EnergyCAP Bill Lists. You can run as many audits as you want, regardless of whether the bills were entered manually or imported. Here's how:

  1. Click Bill Processing from the Main Menu.
  2. Click My Bill Lists, and then click to select the specific Bill List to review.
    Often, you may wish to create a specific, filtered bill list containing all the bills you wish to audit (filtered by batch code, bill entry date, bills entered since "x", etc.). For more information on creating custom bill lists, see our documentation. As an alternative, you can also use an existing bill list and just click the checkboxes for the specific bills you want to audit. 
  3. Once you have displayed the desired bill list and selected the bills to be audited, click the Audit selected bill(s) icon.
    my-bill-lists-audit1.png

    A confirmation prompt will be displayed.
  4. Click Yes to audit the selected bills. The Select Audit Group Wizard will open.
  5. Select the desired audit group(s) to run by clicking the associated checkbox for each group. For information on creating audit groups, see our audits documentation.
  6. When done, click Continue. The audits will run.
  7. After the Confirmation window has been displayed, click Finish.

Once bills have been audited, you can view any problems by clicking Bills with Problem Flags from the Bill Audits menu.  

Audits provide powerful tools for assuring the accuracy of your utility data. Make sure you are using them to keep your data clean. You can read more about audits in our audits documentation.


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Apr
7
EnergyCAP Quick Tip - How Can I Find Gaps in My Utility Bill History?
Posted by Becky Brickell on 07 April 2017 04:10 PM

Despite what its name suggests, the BL-08A - Visual Missing Bills report may not be the best report for finding gaps in your utility bill history. It all depends on what you mean by gaps!

If you want to verify that you've received one bill in every billing period, then BL-08A is a great color-coded report for spotting missing bills (or unusual numbers of bills) for a large number of accounts in just a few seconds. 

Unusual Billing Activity

The BL-08A report provides a link to each included vendor in your EnergyCAP database, along with columns for Cost Center, Account, Meter, Average of Total Amount, Billing Periods in the date range (as specified by your report date filter), Billing Periods without a Bill Record, and the number of bills in your EnergyCAP database for each included billing period for each included account/meter combination:

missing-bills2.png

Using appropriate filters, you can run the report for specific accounts, vendors or places, or you can run it for your entire organization. Make sure to set the Billing Period filter to include all relevant billing periods. Those billing periods that include a single bill will display in green, while those missing any bill will display in red. Billing periods with an unusual amount of billing activity (more than one bill in the billing period) will display in yellow. This is a great way to spot missing/suspect historical data, since you can search prior months and even years by setting the appropriate date filters when you run the report.

Below is a graphic displaying 14 months of bill history from the BL08A report:

14-months-bl08.png

If you see accounts with no bills for a long period of time, the account may need to be set to inactive, or you may want to add a Service End Date.

Locating and Dealing with Gaps in Your Utility Bill History

For a closer inspection of your utility bill history, the BL-08E Days Not Included in Any Bill report may be just what you need. It is similar to BL08, which finds gaps between the End Date of one bill and the Start Date of the next bill. It also finds overlapping billing periods.  

bl08e.png

These types of gaps between bills may indicate missing bills or data entry errors. When running the BL-08E, the user can select a specific date range for locating gaps before, between, or after bills. The report will provide a record even if no bills exist for an account that is in service. Gaps may indicate billing problems, account obsolescence, or data entry errors. 

 

When using BL-08E to spot those smaller gaps in data, set allowable gap days to 0 to locate every instance of specific dates that are not included on ANY utility bill.  A large gap (perhaps 30 days) usually indicates a missing bill, whereas a small gap (perhaps 5 days) usually means that a date was entered incorrectly.  A one-day gap usually means that the vendor may submit bills in a format such that the current bill’s Start Date is the day AFTER last bill’s End Date. This is not standard practice, since meters are seldom read at 12:00 midnight, so this can be a problem. See the EnergyCAP Online documentation for more information on the impact of gaps in billing data.


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Mar
2
EnergyCAP Quick Tip - Why Would I Change an Account's Status?
Posted by Joel Brickell on 02 March 2017 11:20 AM

When you create an Account, it is in the active state. So why would you make an Account inactive?

The most common reason is because your organization has disposed of a building. You want to preserve an account's billing history "just in case," but you don't want to report on the energy data, and you certainly don't want to add any new bills to that account.

Making an account inactive prevents bill entry, and (by default) also filters existing bills for the inactive account out of most reports and PowerViews in EnergyCAP. Since it is generally desirable to maintain a historical bill record, making the account inactive is a better practice than simply deleting an old account and thereby losing its history for trend reporting and other long-term energy analyses.

NOTE: Be cautious about making an account inactive. There are some situations where it may be desirable to prevent bill entry (a change in vendor, for instance), but because an inactive account is removed from the reporting history, inappropriate use of this feature can skew reporting.

treeviewx.pngNew bills cannot be added to inactive accounts, but historical bills for an inactive account can still be edited. Meters associated with an inactive account will become inactive when the associated Account status is changed to inactive.

EnergyCAP can be configured to display (or not display) inactive accounts and meters in their respective Tree Views. When inactive accounts or meters appear, their icon will be marked with a red "X".

You can filter inactive account data out of reports by including the Bill Account is Active filter, and setting it to Yes. This is the default setting for all reports. To show report data for both active and inactive accounts, select the Bill Account is Active filter and click Clear to remove it. To show ONLY inactive accounts, set the Bill Account is Active filter to No.

billacctactive.png

A Note About Meters

In addition to changing a meter's active/inactive status, you can also remove a meter's association with an account by clicking the Remove Association icon from the Meter Properties window. EnergyCAP offers you the choice of supplying an end date for the association or deleting the meter entirely.

remove-association2.png

Which should you choose? If the meter association was the result of a setup error, it is advisable to delete the meter association. Make sure, however, to also delete any associated bills, since the historical billing data will not be deleted along with the association.

If you choose to provide an "end date" for the meter association, you can retain and edit the historical meter data for the period of time that the association was present.

Stay tuned for next week’s Quick Tips to learn HOW to change the account/meter status to inactive.


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Oct
24
EnergyCAP Online 3.5.1 Now Available for Self-Hosted Clients
Posted by Joel Brickell on 24 October 2016 08:21 AM

EnergyCAP 3.5.1 is now available for self-hosted users!

You can download the installation files and read about the enhancements on our new releases webpage.

We hope you enjoy these improvements. You may be the only individual from your organization to receive this message, so please notify all other EnergyCAP users.

Bill Import Improvements

After more than a decade, millions of utility invoices have been imported into EnergyCAP. With more and more complex client scenarios, some enhancements have been necessary to provide better control over how imported bills are created in the system. ALL existing bill import files and profiles will continue to work without modification. However, the enhancements listed below can be utilized moving forward. They may help you to resolve a specific import problem:

  • Consider Account Service Dates: We now consider the service Begin Date and End Date of the account for all bills being imported.
  • Honor Account Alerts for imported bills: If a bill is being imported to an account that has an active alert, a Bill Message will be added to the bill.
  • New Void/Preserve/Replace (V/P/R) Column: Much like the Actual/Correction/Estimated (A/C/E) column in all bill import files, this new flag works in conjunction with "A/C/E" to allow users to better control what happens with the bill being imported.
  • Adjust Bill Start Date for Imported Bills: For any bills that are being imported, if the begin date is one day after the end date of the previous bill, EnergyCAP will modify the start date to match that previous bill end date and make a note on the bill.
  • Definable Billing Period Logic: The Billing Period column can now be used to instruct EnergyCAP how to use the bill dates to determine which billing period a bill falls into. Nothing (null) or “!AUTO!” for this column uses the existing logic.
    • !START! assigns the billing period based on the month of the start date of the bill.
    • !MIDDLE! assigns the billing period based on the exact middle of the billing period without any of the logic that might ordinarily applied.
    • !END! assigns the billing period based on the month of the end date of the bill.

 

To learn more about bill import in EnergyCAP read the Help documentation.


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Aug
15
Updated EnergyCAP 3.5.0 file for self-hosted users
Posted by Matthew Heinz on 15 August 2016 08:00 AM

After releasing the 3.5.0 ZIP file to self-hosted users for download, it was discovered that a few recent changes provided to EnergyCAP hosted clients were also made to the ZIP file we provided. We strongly recommend that you install the newest 3.5.0 ZIP file to ensure the best compatibility. While no data corruption will occur, there is a strong possibility that a few features, including updated French translations, won’t work as expected.

We apologize for the inconvenience and strive to continue providing quality products to you.

Thanks,

Matthew 


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Aug
10
EnergyCAP Server Maintenance on August 12–14 Weekend
Posted by Matthew Heinz on 10 August 2016 04:38 PM

Dear EnergyCAP User,

We’ll be performing maintenance on our servers this coming weekend. During this time you will not be able to access the following websites and services:

The downtime will begin on Friday, August 12 at 8:00 PM ET and last until Sunday, August 14 at 8:00 AM ET.

 

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. You may be the only individual from your organization to receive this notification, so please notify other users as necessary. We appreciate your cooperation.


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Apr
1

Catalyst Coming Next Month

EnergyCAP’s annual Catalyst Training for Savings conference is processing registrations at a record-setting pace, and this year’s Olympic-themed training event is promising users a look at a brand-new HTML-based web version—EnergyCAP 4.0.

Catalyst Director Chris Heinz says that networking opportunities for attendees are built into the Catalyst schedule, and a varied cross-section of EnergyCAP customers are already registered, including city and county governments, school districts, property management firms, energy service providers, higher education, health providers, and retail businesses.

Catalyst is being held April 26–28 (Tues–Thurs) in State College, Pennsylvania, at the Penn Stater Conference Center. Although the Penn Stater room block has already been sold out on Monday and Tuesday night, alternate accommodations have been posted at the Catalyst website.

This year, Catalyst will be focused on the all-new EnergyCAP Online software. For beginning users who want a hands-on experience, there will be a devoted Beginners Hands-on Training Track (laptop computer required). For clients interested in specific topics, Catalyst will provide presentation-style sessions that will run concurrently (no computer needed). Other highlights include Sector Breakouts (networking), Ace Place (one-on-one appointments with EnergyCAP staff), a Report Designer demo (a new ad hoc Excel reporting tool), Tuesday morning’s general session (with Olympic gold-medalist swimmer and motivational speaker Josh Davis), and Blaine’s Boot Camp.

Click here to register for Catalyst.

 

New Hires Add Energy to EnergyCAP

Four new employees have joined EnergyCAP in recent months. The hires have been made strategically to meet our growing customer implementation and service load, enhance our core software development focus, and to expand successful service offerings.

Jere Warner (hired 12/7/15) is a Senior Project Manager. In his role, he will be assisting EnergyCAP clients with software implementation. Project management staff members at EnergyCAP provide new software users with the tools and training they need to derive the maximum value from their utility bill information. Jere has already demonstrated intelligence and relational skills by ascending to the “final four” in the first-ever EnergyCAP Settlers of Catan tournament playoffs.

Jere says he’s been impressed with the caring atmosphere at work, and is excited about being actively involved with the company mission to help clients get the most value they can from EnergyCAP software solutions and services.

Emiline Ensley (hired 1/18/16) is EnergyCAP’s new Report Developer. In that role, she will be responsible for designing and testing new reports that will be accessible to EnergyCAP software clients. She has already coordinated a spring release of new reports/features. An important aspect of her position is understanding client needs and implementing reporting solutions.

Emiline finds her EnergyCAP colleagues to be “super friendly and helpful,” and is looking forward to providing new ways to convey useful energy information to clients and stakeholders. When she is not working on reports, Emiline enjoys taking her dog to the park, baking, making jewelry, traveling, and photography.

Terry Yoder (hired 2/29/16) is a Senior Software Developer. From his new position, he is excited to leverage cloud technologies (Azure) to help with the reliability and monitoring of our current products and also to imagine how cloud solutions could help with processing Smart Meter data in the future. Real-time data is a growing interest among EnergyCAP clients, and Terry feels that making people aware of their energy usage in near real-time is a great way to help change behavior.

Terry is married to Kendra and has two boys, Caleb (22) and Hayden (16). When not at work, he enjoys golf, walks with Kendra, following Penn State football, and family travel. His bucket list includes building a modern smart home with solar panels and a home battery, and renting it out to people on Airbnb so they could experience an energy-efficient smart home first-hand (and help him pay for it).

Ashley Kraige (starting 3/28/16) is so new that she hasn’t even showed up for work at the office yet. As Administrative Assistant BillCAPture, CAPture Services, she will be assisting Peter Caton in maintaining and growing the popular Bill CAPture service at EnergyCAP. Ashley’s hire will add additional scalability to EnergyCAP’s expanding CAPture service offerings.

All four employees are adding their energy to the EnergyCAP team. Expect great things from EnergyCAP as the company continues to grow.


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Mar
31
EnergyCAP Server Maintenance on April 2
Posted by Matthew Heinz on 31 March 2016 10:39 AM

Dear EnergyCAP User,

We’ll be performing maintenance on our servers for a very short time period this weekend. During this time you will not be able to access the following websites:

The downtime will begin on Saturday, April 2 at 8:00 PM ET. Server access should be restored in approximately two hours.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Please notify other users as necessary. We appreciate your cooperation.


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Mar
25
EnergyCAP Customer Support Survey Winner - February 2016
Posted by Matthew Heinz on 25 March 2016 07:04 AM

We are pleased to announce our Customer Support Survey Winner for February 2016! Casey Keyser from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma has won the $25 Amazon gift card.  OSU uses EnergyCAP Enterprise and Online to track its energy use and savings. 

Thank you to Casey and the other survey submitters for taking time out of your schedules to let us know how our Customer Support staff is doing.  It is our goal to make sure you are extremely satisfied with our service and if not, we strive to improve it. 

If you have any questions regarding this survey, please contact our AVP Customer Service, Joel Brickell (joel.brickell@energycap.com) or our VP Customer Service & CSR, Matthew Heinz (matthew.heinz@energycap.com).

Thank you once again to all of you whom participated,
The EnergyCAP Customer Service Team  


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