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As utility auditors, we are witness to the full extend of monopolistic bureaucracy whenever we deal with a major utility. Critiques of power companies throughout the nation are certainly earned, and we found this one from Jac VerSteeg of the South Florida Sentinel to be particularly judicious.
Ernestine, one of Lily Tomlin’s most hilarious characters, made devastating fun of the Bell system phone monopoly. One sketch featured Ernestine strolling through a high-tech control center. “Here at the phone company,” she says, “we handle 84 billion calls a year, serving everyone from presidents and kings to the scum of the earth.”
She says the company realizes that sometimes customers can’t reach an operator, find their phone is out of order or are billed for calls they didn’t make. “We don’t care,” Ernestine says. “We don’t have to. We’re the phone company.”
With the breakup of the “Ma Bell” monopoly in the early 1980s, all that has changed. Now phone companies engage in savage competition for services that are radically different. But the spirit of arrogant monopoly utilities continues. Ernestine’s applause line now could be: “We don’t care. We don’t have to. We’re the power company.”
Florida Power & Light is a good example. I’ll grant that FPL delivers reliable, reasonably priced electricity. But FPL’s attitude is becoming too Bell-like. They don’t compete for customers. They compete for lawmakers and regulators. And they are winning….
Every year, there are thousands and thousands of cases – ranging from modest to the extreme when it comes to utility overcharges.
At times, these become public – such as the controversy in North Carolina regarding the utility company’s ability to charge customers at a high tax rate that no longer exists.
Most often, however, these kinds of overcharges go completely undetected. It never ceases to amaze us how often people will complain about the costs of their utilities, and never realize just how right they are.
For those who take the next step and call a Utility Auditing Specialist, it is rare not to find at least one error, inappropriate rate, or improper tax classification. With over 150 components to every utility bill, there are at least 150 chances per bill that you are being overcharged – and that’s before checking the meter’s accuracy.
Remember that in companies as large and bureaucratic as utility companies, especially those with no local competition, have about ZERO interest in providing you the best possible service at the best possible price.
That’s where we come in. We have decades of experience navigating the murky depths of Utility Bills. If you think you’re being overcharged, don’t hesitate to call Paul Steberger of Applied Utility Auditors TODAY.
Did you know that utility companies often have more than one rate for commercial/business clients? Guess what? They don’t hand out the best rates automatically. Customers have to seek better rates for themselves. This process can be tedious, and frankly, you’re already busy running your own business. This is where Applied Utility Auditors can help. We find overcharges for 80% of all clients.
You might be reading this because your business was referred to AUA or because we’ve contacted you about conducting a utility audit and you have questions. We’re fortunate that the majority of our customers come from happy client referrals. Here are a few quick points:
First, you’re in good hands. Our team has over 75 years of collective experience in auditing:
• Water/sewer services
• General bill auditing
Second, our job is to find:
• Incorrect rate group assignments
Third, we get to work by:
• Auditing your invoices
• Analyzing usage
• Identifying the errors
Fourth, you reap the benefits:
• Cost and service recommendations are made
• New rates are negotiated with the utility provider
• Everyone’s favorite part: You score a REFUND!
• We continue monitoring your utility bills monthly basis to ensure accuracy
How does it work?
• Audits are performed on a contingency fee basis
• No errors = no charge to you
While reading a recent post by Ron Miller at Techcrunch earlier today— I had an opportunity to reflect on just how much more clutter my office used to have. The picture from his blog post says a lot:
This picture, too reminds me of what my own storage closet looked like:
We updated our antivirus software just the other day. Remember when there were giant boxes filled with cd’s, handbooks, pamphlets, etc? All we did was click “download” and use the codes from our receipt to activate the product… More simple than that, the cloud has made it possible to download life-improving software by tapping on the ‘playstore’ or ‘appstore’ icons on our phones.
Software doesn’t have to come in stacks of hard boxes anymore.
If you still have boxes full of programs in your offices, there’s a good chance you could benefit from moving to cloud based services… and there’s no doubt that your cleaning service will benefit too.
Today, the entirety of my office essentials fit inside the laptop bag — and when you consider that I can tap a few buttons on my phone and send a 20 page collated document from the cloud to my local staples, complete with custom specifications… one wonders why people own more than a laptop and a phone.