Common Errors in Utility Bills

Increasing sales and revenue is obviously good for the bottom line in business. Profitability is certainly one of the main goals of any company. But there is another way to boost profits. Cutting down on expenses also makes a difference.

There are only so many cuts that you can make and still run a successful business. However, the accuracy of what you are spending is paramount. A bookkeeping mistake or being overcharged for a service will cut into profits. Utility companies sometimes make mistakes on bills and you could be paying more than you should. Check every bill carefully.

Scrutinize Utility Bills

Keeping track of and carefully scrutinizing utility bills is something every company should do as almost 17% of invoices have an error of some kind. This is a big job and you may not have the personnel to spare. Using utility auditors is a good idea. They go over your bills for whatever timespan you need and locate errors. Once found, you can report them to the utility company and have your money refunded. There are several common errors to look for.


Typographical errors are simple mistakes that are very common in any kind of written document. They do happen on utility bills and can be quite expensive. A misplaced decimal point can increase the bill by a factor of 10. Incorrect numbers on kilowatt-hours used as well as their rate can also cost you significantly more money, especially over time.

Mistakes on Rates

The rate you are charged for any utility service must be accurate for you to be charged fairly. This is a mistake that is not uncommon and if it goes unnoticed, you could be paying too much on your monthly bill for quite some time. This will add up to a large amount of wasted money and harm your profitability.

Faulty Equipment

Utility companies use meters to measure the amount of electricity, gas, or other sources of energy you use in a given month. In order for the amount you are charged to be fair, the meters must be working properly. Like any other kind of equipment, a meter can function improperly or go out of calibration over time. 

An auditor will have the functionality of meters checked to ensure they are working properly. If they are not, the auditor will report it and have the utility company repair or replace it. This will end the problem and your bills will be accurate.

Incorrect Meter Readings

The utility company professionals who are sent out to read meters are trained professionals. Nevertheless, they are also human and do make mistakes and those errors can be costly to your company. It is recommended that you learn how to read a meter properly and do your own readings each month.

Taking a photo of the meter is also a good idea. You will then have a record of the correct reading to use as proof should you discover a discrepancy. An auditor can use this information when looking back over previous billing cycles. 

Late Fees

Anybody who charges you monthly for credit or services will have late fees that are assessed if payment is made after the due date. These fees add up and a mistake that sometimes happens is an incorrect assessment of late fees. Make sure your bills are paid on time and investigate any late fee that appears on an invoice. It may be a mistake and you are being overcharged.

Incorrect Taxes

States and municipalities generally tax the usage of utilities. This is another area where mistakes can be made. You don’t want to be taxed unfairly and pay more than you should. Know the tax rates that apply to your area and check the bills to make sure they are correct.

Keeping track of expenses and lowering them where you can is vital to business success. Don’t assume your utility bills are always accurate. Check them carefully, and consider having an auditor go over them. It could save you a lot of money.

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