Energy Automation

By on Jul 29, 2019 in Energy, News

Dallas-based multifamily community manager Pinnacle sought to reduce utility late fees and increase vacant utility cost recoveries at 170,000 residential units that it manages.

“We needed to automate the entire process—payables, receivables, consumption data analysis and reporting that drilled down to a granular level of detail,” said Nicole Ellery, the company’s ancillary performance manager. Doing all this required replacing its cumbersome manual utility consumption tracking and billing with the Yardi Energy Suite.

One element of the suite, Yardi Utility Expense Management, receives, validates and completes payments for Pinnacle’s utility bills. Another part, Yardi Utility Billing, monitors and bills residents for their utility consumption, which helps the company recover vacant unit costs, monitor usage, forecast utility revenue and cut waste with consumption alerts.

How has the Yardi Energy Suite worked out for Pinnacle? The bottom line, Ellery said on a utility expense management panel at the most recent Yardi Advanced Solutions Conference (YASC), is “lower late fees across the board.” That happened because the comprehensive solution for utility billing, energy management and submeter data administration helps the company “track how properties are performing with line-by-line data down to the individual meter level as opposed to only invoice data.”

“When we onboard a new property, we can see red flags such as high consumption on a meter and follow up with an investigation,” Ellery said. “Our property managers and accountants can drill down to each general ledger account and invoice if anything looks off and see what’s going on. We can see gradual increases in consumption and process invoices as soon as they come in.”

She added, “We have saved thousands of dollars every year by nearly eliminating late fees. The suite vastly simplified our vacant unit recovery process, so it maximizes income too. We’d be missing a lot of information and money without automated tracking and collection.”

The Yardi Energy Suite also eliminated the need for Pinnacle to engage a third-party utility billing provider and having to integrate data from multiple systems. Housing all data in Yardi Voyager creates a seamless experience, streamlines the billing process and offers complete visibility into submetered consumption data and charges on the resident ledger.

The additional integration of RENTCafé puts all resident payments on one platform, producing invaluable efficiencies and data integrity. Residents can make payments electronically through RENTCafé, and Pinnacle can send conservation tips, provide reminders about upcoming bills and inform new residents of their responsibility for setting up their accounts.

“Late fees might be small at the unit level but they add up over a portfolio’s worth of properties,” Ellery told her YASC audience. “Late fees and leaks and other equipment problems can’t be out of sight, out of mind because they can get out of control very quickly. Our property managers are managing multimillion-dollar assets and shouldn’t spend their time processing invoices. The Yardi Energy Suite does that with minimal effort and also helps us comply with ENERGY STAR® requirements. It’s a product that pays for itself.”

Learn about Pinnacle, one of the largest multifamily management companies in the U.S.

Get details on the Yardi Energy Suite and the next YASC in San Diego.