By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor
Oak Brook, Ill.–American Utility Management (AUM), a provider of energy services and utility management for the multifamily sector, has unveiled a service it calls AUManager, whose aim is to cut energy bills for multifamily owners and operators. Unlike an automated system that might monitor energy costs remotely in some way, at the heart of AUM’s new program is a human expert.
Essentially, AUManager is a dedicated analyst who monitors clients’ utility billing, bill processing and energy-management initiatives. These analysts research all of the energy bills for multifamily properties and use that data as the basis for cost-cutting and energy-management recommendations.
Why have a third-party expert do that, instead of an on-site property manager? “AUManagers have expert-to-expert relationships with utilities, and are therefore able to provide property managers with senior-level analysis and execution to reducing energy usage and costs,” Michael Miller, president of Oak Brook, Ill.-based AUM, tells MHN. “AUManagers use their expertise to facilitate what might otherwise be a time-consuming investigation into energy usage and rate variances if undertaken by already-overburdened property managers.”
AUManager acts as part of an apartment owner’s internal facility management team, providing rate analyses and daily-usage utility-variance research, adds Miller. If significant usage variances occur, they investigate the cause and explain the potential impact the variances have on resident billing. Other services included in AUManager are budget forecasting, identifying enhanced revenue-billing opportunities, vacant-unit cost monitoring, and common-area deduction analysis.
The AUManager has already done well by existing AUM clients, the company asserts. For example, a New York-based multifamily owner of over 13,000 units was alerted by its AUManager of a variance in electric rates while researching a small subset of its properties. The analyst identified an incorrect billing charge due to a recent change in rate structures within the utility, and thus saved the company thousands of dollars. “This one finding alone would have cost each property over $10,000 without the research of the AUManager,” notes Dimitris Kapsis, vice president of energy management services at AUM.
AUM declines to detail its rate structure for the service, but does say that it is not based on a percentage of the savings that the services manages to uncover. “Multifamily clients who utilize AUManager keep 100 percent of the savings generated through AUM efforts,” Miller says. “There are a great deal of variables involved in identifying cost savings across various property types, so AUManager pricing is customized by client.”