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How to Understand a Utility Bill


I was recently asked about the best way to read a prospect’s utility bills. Fortunately, I’ve been in the energy business nearly 30 years, so I've seen my share of bills throughout my career.

How to Understand a Utility Bill

Here’s why it’s important. There’s a statistic I came across a few years ago that said senior level executives look at their utility bill for about six minutes a year. So, they’re not experts by any means. I’ve been in other situations where someone claims to be the “energy manager” but they do nothing more than circle the total on the bill that needs to be paid before forwarding it to accounting. 

That leaves you to be the expert in some cases. You might find yourself having to sit down with a customer and explain their own bill to them. It’s up to you to understand the terms, abbreviations, and financials. This is especially important if you want to know how your projects are going to affect each line item.

My suggestion would be to go to the utility’s website, where you may even find a video explaining how to read your bill. If not, you could call customer service and ask them to walk you through it, or just call your account rep or rebate program specialist and ask away!

Bottom line, if the efficacy of your proposal depends on a reduction in the utility bill, you need to understand every line item on that bill and how your proposal will produce changes that will represent some or all of your customer’s financial return.

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Posted by Mark Jewell