Nobody home? No problem! Monthly billing of consumption with remote meter reading

PROMOS.FS has provided its IBEKO service on the market for more than ten years, during which time it has continuously enhanced its solution portfolio.
IT&I Magazin Nr. 21 - "Nicht da? Kein Problem! Monatliche Verbrauchsabrechnung bei Nutzung der Fernauslesung von Messgeräten"

As well as the option to integrate consumption-based settlement results, which heating meter reading companies deliver as E records, into the SAP® operating cost statement, and thus into the company-specific settlement statement, PROMOS.FS now meets the requirements of customers who opt for the conventional method of processing D/W records and using settlement statements from individual meter reading companies. The project reduces the customers’ workload, as PROMOS.FS merges the meter reading companies’ settlement statements with the SAP® settlement statement electronically in a single document, transfers this document for delivery and archives the combined letter in the form the customer requires.  

To supplement these conventional services, ROMOS.FS started providing innovative monthly consumption-based billing in 2016.  

Annual consumption analysis  

The German Heating Costs Ordinance (Heizkostenordnung) of 2009 was the first legislation according to which real estate managers could provide their tenants with information regarding their consumption behaviour in the form of an annual, easily comprehensible utility statement. According to the law, the costs for this consumption analysis, which must compare tenant-specific energy consumption for at least the least three invoicing periods, must be borne by the tenant.  

The legislator’s aim here is to influence consumption behaviour through transparent presentation of consumption and thus to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions. For tenants, in addition to achieving climate policy goals, the focus is primarily on their personal energy cost savings.

Figure 1: Consumption analysis for heating, hot water and cold water.

A regular reality check  

I am sure we all experience the same thing on a regular basis – when the scheduled pension forecast statement arrives for our pension insurance and we realise the bitter truth: that we will most likely be spending our twilight years in our own garden and not on a sunny beach. What is our first reaction? A typical human one: time to start saving! We come to this unequivocal conclusion because we are presented with the “harsh reality” – an ever-present fact of daily life. How much less likely would we be to take drastic action if we were to receive only vague data such as “pension points” or “pay-in achieved in percent”?  

Monthly statement  

This is precisely the approach of the monthly statement – tenants receive a value in euros relating to their consumption behaviour. For most tenants, this is much more meaningful than something along the lines of “consumption in kilowatt hours per square metre and year”.  

Which costs can be allocated in the monthly statement? In most cases, it is not possible to post costs that can be allocated to tenants during the year, as the invoice issuers send their invoices only once a year. However, the actual costs that were included in the previous statement are certainly available. These costs, which may be documented using a real price increase index, are the basis for the monthly statement. In this way, the tenant can be issued a monthly statement in the order of:

“On the basis of the settlement-related costs from the last settlement period, your costs for heating, hot water and cold water for the period from ... to ... are €xxx.xx”

A cumulative presentation of all the costs since the start of the settlement period is also possible. The scope of information can also be supplemented with consumption information and recommendations regarding consumption behaviour.  

The crucial prerequisite for preparing monthly statements is remote meter reading, as current consumption values are required to determine the costs, unlike on the costs side.

Informationstechnologie und Immobilien (IT&I) Ausgabe Nr. 37 / Mai 2024

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Together with a leading heating meter reading service, PROMOS.FS was commissioned by a customer to process the monthly measured values made available by the meter reading service as of 01/2016 and to provide monthly statements for the tenants to supplement the monthly consumption analyses. The monthly statements from commercial property managers, many of whom read out values from consumption meters via M-Bus systems, can also be used. All the other data required for the monthly statement, such as the size of the living space and heating area, and the settlement periods, is imported from the customer’s SAP® system.  

Delivery to tenants  

Printing and sending utility statements involves significant costs and time, so it is not feasible to send monthly statements by post or have the caretaker deliver them. PROMOS.FS provides the monthly statements via easysquare – the new platform from PROMOS consult for networked services relating to real estate management. easysquare not only allows effective communication between customers and service providers; it also allows mobile processes to be implemented in a targeted manner. The connection to the content of the customer’s SAP® system and provision of appropriate security mechanisms (including in the event of a change of tenant) ensure that all tenants can only access their own data. Following prior registration and release, tenants can download the monthly statements during the term of their rental contract.

Basisdaten der monatlichen Abrechnung mit der PROMOS Verbrauchsanalyse
Figure 2: Basic data for the monthly statement.

Prepared for the future  

Should European or national legislators decide in the future to make monthly energy cost statements mandatory by law, the PROMOS.FS monthly consumption statement (currently based on past costs, but in the future then based on actual monthly costs) already provides the majority of the required functions and would essentially only need to be linked to the existing collection function.

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