How to Access Monthly Energy Invoices
Monthly energy invoices are the bedrock of any energy management or sustainability program. Fortunately, there are many ways to access them – perhaps too many to keep track of. Other than manual invoice collection, which is time-consuming and error-prone, you can choose from several technology options to help automate your invoice access, but each have their own pros and cons. So, what’s the best way to access energy invoices for your organization? Let’s explore your options.
OCR and EDI
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) converts images into a machine-readable text. While this method automates data extraction, it’s easily impacted by the quality of the document or image that’s scanned. This can lead to inaccurate data, requiring human intervention to find and fix errors.
Another option that’s offered by major utility suppliers is EDI (Electronic Data Interchange). This process involves the exchange of invoices and payment data between the supplier and the customer. The best part? When available from the utility supplier, EDI feeds are free.
While EDI provides better accuracy and requires less human intervention than OCR, it has some drawbacks: coverage is limited to the major utilities that choose to offer it. It also lacks standardization due to varying formats amongst different providers. As your company examines different options, it’s best to understand your organization’s needs and goals and how each method can satisfy them. From the lack of standardization to the potential missing data points, take time to make the best choice for accessing monthly energy invoices.
It’s not uncommon for AP departments to manage energy invoices along with their other duties. Although energy and AP departments sometimes share invoice data, effective energy management and procurement requires more information than just total consumption amounts, which is often all that AP data sources provide. By collecting more granular energy data, companies can gain better visibility and inform initiatives like demand response and true cost analysis.
Some companies also rely on their own web-scraping tools to collect and manage monthly energy invoices. Though this tool automates part of the invoice collection process, it also requires a significant amount of human intervention for maintenance on the backend. As utility providers actively update their websites over time, workflow processes are negatively impacted and require repairs to get them up and running again. The loss of data can delay processing and result in hefty late fees.
As utility providers actively update their websites over time, workflow processes are negatively impacted and require repairs to get them up and running again.
Energy and sustainability management software
Some companies rely on energy and sustainability management software to not only help them track and achieve their sustainability goals, but also to collect and extract energy invoice data. Many companies will include utility data automation as part of their overall service, but when that option isn’t available, energy and sustainability professionals are left to manually enter their own invoice data. As noted above, this process carries higher costs, requires more time, and is less reliable.
Access monthly energy invoices directly from the source
An effective energy and sustainability management program requires reliable and accurate information. By implementing an automated energy invoice collection method, your organization can improve efficiency, accuracy, and visibility. The Urjanet Utility Data Platform automates the collection and delivery of monthly energy invoices directly from utility providers and extracts the data points you need to succeed.
Solidify the next step in your journey to efficient energy management with automated data collection from Urjanet. Speak with one of our data experts today to learn more.
You might also be interested in:
- Webinar Replay: Managing Energy Data from End to End
- Extract Energy Insights with Data Calendarization
- Your Guide to Sustainability Data Management
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About Honor Donnie
Honor Donnie is a Marketing Intern at Urjanet, with a passion for content creation. When she’s not at Urjanet, she can be found studying Political Science at Clark Atlanta University.