“Why is my utility bill so high?” This is a common question heard at the Department of Public Utilities (DPU). While market pricing and weather are beyond your individual control, there are several factors that you can control and even prepare for, such as consumption and an increased number of people using your resources.
The Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Self Service Portal is a helpful customer-focused tool that can benefit all utility customers.
For starters, this portal activates leak alerts, which can be a game changer if a pipe springs a leak while you are on vacation, or if you have an irrigation system where underground leaks can go undetected for quite a while.
Through the portal, you can get alerts based on a user-determined trigger for level of usage recorded at the meter. If you receive an alert of concern, you should contact the Customer Care Center so that DPU’s crews can confirm the problem and respond appropriately.
The AMI portal is an invaluable tool when trying to answer the age-old question, “what happened?” If you call me with that question, the first place I’m going to look is the portal to see if anything looks out of the ordinary.
While I’m happy to do that, I encourage you to embrace the information at your fingertips by using the AMI Self Service Portal, and I offer the following tips and considerations to get you started:
- If you haven’t set up an AMI Self Service Portal account yet, go to ladpu.com/Step1. Once you’ve set up your account, you can go to ladpu.com/MyMeters to log in.
- Select the utility you want to investigate.
- Pick the time frame that you wish to review. The shorter the time frame, the more detailed the data. However, the dashboard does have its limitations. Not all utility services show hour by hour changes and some don’t record below a minimum usage level.
- Look for consumption patterns within your usage and then look for variations. Generally, you’ll be more interested in the high spikes within this pattern. Think about how your normal activities might affect your usage.
- Look at a calendar to see if there was an event to account for higher usage.
- Do you use a space heater at night? If so, that can impact your usage.
- Did you have visitors for an extended stay? The average American uses 100 gallons of water a day, so visitors can make a big difference.
- Was there a time when you forgot to turn off an appliance? Or did you leave a piece of technology left on?
- Are you aware of any leaks?
An important note, meter malfunctions won’t show up on the portal as spikes in usage. If your meter malfunctions, you’ll see a very low or no reading along with an alert in the dashboard. If you see a “high-continuous flow” alert, however, there is a leak somewhere between your fixtures and DPU’s meter.
After investigating your own usage, you’ll be in a better position to make money-saving changes. Behavioral changes like shorter showers and turning electronics off require no investment and can have some of the best payoffs in the long run, but creating new habits can be hard. Physical changes carry costs but many of them can show immediate results.
Still not sure what you’re looking at on that dashboard? Contact the Customer Care Center at CustomerCare@lacnm.us or 505.662.8333. Or come see me to talk about what your portal is—or isn’t—showing you today. Email me to set up an appointment at email@example.com.