By Island Palm Communities, U.S. Army Garrison-HawaiiSeptember 12, 2011
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Following a year of monthly energy consumption statements, or "mock billing," the first live utility bills arrived in homes, last month.
Since the mock billing program started in Hawaii, electric consumption in on-post housing has decreased 10 percent, as energy consumption has decreased.
To support residents wanting a better understanding of their energy use and utility bills, an Island Palm Communities, or IPC, utilities manager and a representative from ista -- IPC's billing management company -- recently met with individual residents to address their concerns.
"Meeting with individual families to address their specific concerns was really beneficial to residents and IPC," said Tom Adams, director, IPC property management. "Most simply wanted more clarification about the program, such as profiles and baselines and how buffer zones affect their billing. We were able to answer their questions, and as a result, will be adding more information to our website."
Adams added that the meetings went well, and residents were more comfortable with the live billing program after gaining a better understanding.
Homes built after 2004 are part of the live billing program.
All other homes, except those that will be replaced with new construction, will continue to receive energy consumption statements.
Live billing for these homes will begin when all homes in the neighborhood have been brought up to the same standards through renovations. A 120-day notice will be given to residents prior to the start of live billing.
Mock and live billings are helping the Army and U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii move forward to reach their conservation goals.
--Become an energy-saver
IPC residents can request an energy audit at email@example.com or (800) 569-3014. Get more details at these websites:
•Residents can manage their energy use and daily consumption at www.esoems.com.
•Find energy-saving tips and resources on the synergy tips page at www.IslandPalmCommunities.com.
--Q & A:
During recent meetings with residents about the Army's utilities program, the following common questions were gathered. Learn more at www.IslandPalmCommunities.com.
Q: Doesn't the Basic Allowance for Housing, or BAH, cover utilities?
A: BAH includes a portion for utilities that should cover costs for normal energy use. This amount won't change. The majority of families should experience no out-of-pocket expenses. IPC residents receive a significant discount on their price per kilowatt-hour, which is historically 5 cents less than the residential kwh rate off post.
Q: How is my baseline calculated?
A: The baseline is determined by calculating the average energy consumption of all homes belonging to a specific profile. To calculate the baseline in each profile, IPC:
•Removes unoccupied homes;
•Removes homes with partial billing periods, like move-ins and move-outs; and
•Removes the highest and lowest 10 percent of users.
Q: How is the profile determined?
A: A profile is a category of homes that share the same physical and geographic features. Profiles are determined using the following criteria:
•Square footage of each home;
•Number of bedrooms;
•New home versus existing home;
•Floor plan, such as single-family, duplex or multiplex; and
•Type of home construction.
Q: What is a rolling baseline?
A: USAG-HI uses a rolling baseline, which means the average energy consumption for a home will change each month.
Q: How does the buffer zone work?
A: USAG-HI established a 10-percent buffer zone above and below the baseline. No payments will need to be made or rebates will be sent if usage is within the buffer zone.
Q: When do I need to pay a bill?
A: If you're over the buffer zone by less than $50, you don't need to pay a bill at this time. Your balance will be accrued and carried over to the next month. If you're over the buffer zone by $50 or more, a payment is required, and your energy consumption statement will state "remit payment."
Q: When will I receive a rebate?
A: If you're within the buffer zone you will receive a "no action statement." If you're under the buffer zone by more than $50, a rebate check will accompany your energy consumption statement. If you're under your buffer zone by less than $50, the balance will be accrued and carried over to the next month until it exceeds $50, at which time you will receive a rebate check.