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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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