There are two compelling reasons for it. Firstly, there is the disarray in the billing department of the Johannesburg City council, which has been widely reported in the press. Secondly, trying to have a billing error corrected is next to impossible.
Our step by step procedure to put an end to over-billing and to recover over-payments.
1. From the outset, please understand that there are no up-front costs for our services. It is only after your rates are brought into line, or billing errors refunded, that we receive a percentage of the resultant savings. If we fail to recover any funds, you owe us nothing. This practice guarantees that our involvement will never cost you a cent!
2. Here is how we go about fixing it. First port of call is a thorough analysis of the City Power section of your City of Johannesburg account. For the sake of brevity, we will from now on refer to the Johannesburg council as COJ.
3. We examine all your accounts going back at least 12 months and apply specific formulae. That gives us an excellent idea whether errors are likely, and where to look for them.
4. Before all else, we check to see if your meter readings are actual or estimates. Three or more consecutive estimates would be a clear indication of trouble. In addition to the standard energy charge, or kilowatt-hours, your business gets charged for demand as well. That is indicated on your account as kVA
5. Unlike kilowatt-hours, which is cumulative, kVA can't be estimated, and a specific billing procedure must be followed. The council frequently neglects to follow that procedure and a dead giveaway is two or more consecutive readings that are exactly the same. kVA billing is an area where you could lose a lot of money and where our system is particularly efficient in fund recovery.
6. By the way, if you are unfamiliar with these terms and you would like to understand them better, please watch our video at, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tD5BSIO0IOE.
7. The relationship between kilowatt-hours and kVA, called Load Factor, is another good indicator of possible concern. By applying a, not too complicated formula, and interpreting the result, we can in most cases determine your problem areas. The necessary experience, however, is a critical factor in understanding the end result.
8. An unusual feature of the COJ statement is the reporting of kVArh, a term few people other than engineers have ever heard of. It is, nevertheless, a handy function to determine the Power Factor, albeit by applying a relatively complicated formula. That allows us to make an educated guess as to the likelihood of incorrect data on your statement, and back it up with crucial evidence if it is indeed found to be flawed.
9. And the crucial evidence is the crux of the matter. This is where we depart from the course taken by most investigators. We go to great lengths to uncover irrefutable proof of your actual consumption. There is no point in trying to argue your case with the council without evidence. They will merely intimidate you and me into submission.
10. What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof, is the council's viewpoint. For that reason, our engineering approach differs from most others, in that we gather sufficient scientific evidence that the council accepts without question. Then we apply our concentrated accounting skills to dissect and analyse your bills going back as far as is necessary. Finally, we commit our facilitation know-how, gathered over many years' dealing with the council, to ensure a fair deal for our clients.
11. That approach demands the very accurate measurement and recording of several parameters concerned with electricity use. That is accomplished by installing a certified smart meter, which, by the way, is available by subscription at a fraction of its actual cost.
12. Apart from gathering evidence to confront the council, this meter is a superb instrument for energy management. Smart metering allows you to visually identify wastage and recognize conservation opportunities. By understanding how and when your facility uses electricity, you will discover opportunities to cut costs and boost profits.
13. All data is readily available via LIVEVIEW, a web-based energy information reporting tool that provides you with an online view of when, where, and how much energy you are using at any time.
14. We assemble historical evidence of the same caliber by accessing the data that is stored in the council's own smart meter. Fortunately, smart meters allow data storage for up to two years. Once authorized by you, we negotiate a full download and compare the data with our own smart meter to make sure that the council's meter is working correctly. You will be amazed by the number of City Power smart meters that were programmed incorrectly at installation, causing considerable losses to customers.
15. A penetrating glimpse of the obvious affords us the opportunity to correct faulty meters, and even if they are correct, we use that information to compare it to the COJ statements to correct billing errors.
16. Finally, we commit our facilitation know-how, gathered by dealing with the council over many years, to correct errors and pass credits where due. Cutting through red tape and institutional inefficiencies is where we earn our keep. We have the good fortune of having built a good working relationship with the city. We know their requirements and procedures, and they appreciate the integrity of our submissions.
17. Unfortunately, you will never get any cash out of them but a credit on your account is the next best thing. Some of our customers have not had to pay any municipal bill for years after their accounts had been credited.
18. It is only at this point when it is verified that the client’s account had already been credited, that we earn a percentage of the value of the refund. If we fail to recover funds or realise any savings, there are no fees at all, and you owe us nothing, despite any work done. This practice guarantees that our involvement will never cost you a cent!
19. And that is not the end of it. Having the benefit of your own smart meter, we continue to advise you on energy efficiency matters, as well as keeping a hawk eye on your account to prevent any over-charges in future.
20. Contact us today, before you get side-tracked by other business needs. Remember, it will not cost you a cent until you see your savings.