SimpleBills Swings a Home Run in Innovative Use of Utility Data
If you haven’t yet heard, SimpleBills was chosen as a winner in the 2019 SPARK Awards, for the Most Innovative Use of Utility Data. To win in this category, a company needed to transform utility data in a way that has never been seen before, addressing new markets and doing good with data.
Follow along as we tell you SimpleBills’ story, and how they rose to the top for their transformative use of utility data.
Utility data finds new power
SimpleBills provides residents with access to utility information, such as consumption and historical analysis, while still leaving utilities in the property’s name. Its service displays utility data through easy-to-read graphs that allow residents to compare their consumption and cost to previous months, as well as to other units.
SimpleBills’ model provides transparency and accountability while providing both the resident and the property with tremendous value and cost savings. Savings come from residents’ energy awareness, residents no longer having to set up or terminate utilities, and eliminating vacant cost recovery efforts.
Impressive, right? But they’re not finished. In recent years, SimpleBills has also expanded into credit reporting. Residents can report their utility bill payment history to credit bureaus through SimpleBills, adding another tradeline to their credit report and building positive credit history.
Over 50% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 in the U.S. are “credit invisible.”
Over 50 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 24 in the U.S. are “credit invisible.” The majority of residents who use SimpleBills live in student housing – an enormous demographic that’s underserved by traditional credit scoring models. With SimpleBills, they can build credit with the bills they already pay each month, truly transforming the use of utility data.
Teamwork makes the dream work
SimpleBills handles utility invoices for both residents and properties, covering payments for electric, water, gas, waste, cable and internet. Prior to partnering with Urjanet, a team of six or seven full-time employees dedicated approximately 280 hours a week solely to utility data collection and entry.
For every property, the long, manual process of waiting for a utility bill to become available, downloading the bill, and typing data into a spreadsheet was repeated up to 300 times. As Kevin Jones, SimpleBills founder and Executive Vice President, said: “There was no way for SimpleBills to effectively grow without a solution like Urjanet.”
“There was no way for SimpleBills to effectively grow without a solution like Urjanet.”
Urjanet’s Utility Data Platform was able to automate 80 to 90 percent of SimpleBills’ utility bill collection and processing, enabling the company to more than double its customer base – and continue to spread cost savings and positive credit across the United States.
Other leading innovators
Alongside the winner stood a few other, equally innovative finalists: EnergyPrint, Bright Power and Affordable Community Energy Services (ACE).
In 2017, EnergyPrint expanded its offerings to help customers uncover the hidden stories in utility data. With Insights Architect™, their business intelligence solution, EnergyPrint helped client TDIndustries streamline utility data collection and visualize data into a useful report for more than 45 school buildings.
Bright Power and ACE had an interesting story as well, partnering to help Mercy Housing upgrade around 80 properties in California. Mercy Housing uses ACE’s innovative “Pay from Savings” financing model, while Bright Power uses utility data to identify areas of underperformance and install turnkey efficiency improvements. The early stage project has already realized a seven percent reduction in carbon emissions.
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About Amy Hou
Amy Hou is a Marketing Manager at Urjanet, overseeing content and communications. She enjoys writing about the latest industry updates in sustainability, energy efficiency, and data innovation.