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Miami-Dade Energy Program Receives NACo Award

STATE COLLEGE, Pa., July 8, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Association of Counties (NACo) has given Miami-Dade County an Achievement Award for implementation of a utility monitoring and payment processing system. The system was facilitated by implementation of the EnergyCAP® utility bill tracking software.

The County's Utility Billing Management Program is currently providing a centralized and automated procedure to process over $100 million worth of annual electricity bills for the County's dynamic building portfolio of more than 1,500 facilities. The program has enabled the County to effectively plan for its energy use and to benchmark important trends necessary to obtain ENERGY STAR building certifications. Through the Utility Billing Management Program, the County successfully implemented a streamlined and standardized bill review, payment, and audit process that tracks and monitors financial and energy usage trends for all County departments. The payment processing function eliminated a manual, paper-based procedure, and EnergyCAP's audit function has automated more than 2.1 million annual audits, increasing efficiency and ultimately reducing taxpayer expenses for utilities countywide.

The NACo Achievement Award recognizes innovative programs that promote government efficiency and improved delivery of services by offering new services to County residents, improving the administration of existing County government programs, upgrading working conditions or level of training for County employees, providing information that facilitates effective public policy making, and promoting intergovernmental cooperation and coordination in addressing shared problems.

In 2016, a total of 136 counties submitted applications to NACo for awards in 21 categories. In June, NACo granted awards for 618 entries from 112 counties in 34 states. The Utility Billing Management Program received an award in the Environmental Protection & Energy category. NACo also recognized Miami-Dade County for a sustainability project at Miami International Airport.

Utility Billing Management Program Highlights

According to the NACo award application, prior to the initial software implementation in 2012, Miami-Dade County's 24 Departments were reliant on a cumbersome manual entry, paper-based procedure to handle, process, and audit their respective electricity bills. Each department dealt with their electricity bills in a different way, making it difficult to monitor electricity usage and trends. With three different accounting systems and an antiquated energy reporting system, the County faced constant challenges in getting the correct invoice to the proper accounting department and processing the bills in a timely manner. Comprehensive energy reporting was almost impossible.

The County established a seven-member leadership team to establish a single, functional energy management umbrella. The goal of the leadership team was to establish a centralized system for measuring electricity usage and costs, thereby enabling the County to manage and monitor trends throughout their facilities. This undertaking involved collaborating with and training more than 200 County employees across all 24 Departments. The leadership team has also developed County-wide standard operating procedures to ensure consistency throughout the processing of the more than 54,000 annual electricity bills. This implementation, education, and training process took approximately 18 months.

Miami-Dade County's Internal Services Department (ISD) used relationships with various operational partners and the County's electricity provider, Florida Power and Light (FPL) to bring the program to fruition.

Miami-Dade Program Results

By converting all manual entry energy bill processing to electronic data interchange (EDI) processing, the Utility Billing Management Program automates bill paying and auditing into a centralized and streamlined system. Through this platform, the County can now develop a comprehensive electricity plan and measure, manage, and monitor electricity consumption, costs, and customer demand.

The new implementation translated electricity billing information electronically, audited the information, provided a common platform for multiple users (via online or an installed Windows software), and created a bill processing interface for three separate financial systems.

The centralized system now provides accountability, tracking, and monitoring to better address energy usage demands and financial trends. As a result, the County was able to reduce countywide energy utility bill costs, improve auditing and accountability, and enhance overall utility bill management efficiency. In addition to expediting the business process and eliminating manual work, the program improved the County's record keeping, eliminated redundant data entry, reduced mistakes, and allowed staff to focus on core tasks. The Utility Bill Management program updated and automated the bill payment processes from the earlier paper-based model, provided fast, easy and convenient direct electronic routing of invoices, and made historical data instantly available for analysis and strategic planning.

Through an automated interface with the Environmental Protection Agency's Portfolio Manager, the EnergyCAP software has allowed the County to begin benchmarking with ENERGY STAR by submitting data for 167 buildings. Having an understanding of where the buildings rate on the ENERGY STAR scale – a national ranking – allows energy management staff to prioritize energy performance improvement projects and seek ENERGY STAR building certifications.

To date, it is estimated that program implementation has already prevented over 160,000 pieces of paper from being created and handled. Based on industry estimates, the County has saved over $1.1 million in labor and material costs through the automated Utility Bill Management Program.

The County now has a modern platform from which to add and automate data collection for other utilities, such as water and natural gas. This will assist in future County endeavors to meet sustainability and resiliency goals and realize greater cost savings.

About EnergyCAP, Inc.

EnergyCAP's purpose is to publish industry-leading software tools that help clients derive value from utility bills. For more than 30 years, the award-winning EnergyCAP software has helped 10,000 energy managers to track more than $25 billion in energy spending. EnergyCAP utility bill and energy management software helps users get value from their utility bills and meter data. Software features include bill entry (manual, spreadsheet import, and EDI), bill tracking, an optional AP/GL interface, customizable bill approval workflow, audits, rate schedules, interval and production data tracking, cost avoidance (M &V), issue tracking, submeter tracking, virtual meter formulas, re-billing, greenhouse gas tracking, 300+ reports, automated ENERGY STAR building data submittal, building benchmarking, and graphical PowerViews. Discover why EnergyCAP is America's #1 utility bill management software at http://www.energycap.com.

About Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade County on Florida's southeastern coast is home to more than 2.5 million people. The County manages more than 1,500 facilities and an electrical budget that exceeds $100 million annually.

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CONTACT: Barry Kroeker Senior Marketing Manager EnergyCAP, Inc. Phone: 877.327.3702 x37

Source:EnergyCAP, Inc.