New Milford hopes to find savings in utility billing errors
NEW MILFORD — Town officials hope to save thousands of dollars on utilities without having to change existing infrastructure.
Town Council gave Mayor Pete Bass the go-ahead on Monday to start negotiatons with TRI Utility Cost Reductions, Inc., which will go line by line in all of the town’s utilities bills to find billing errors and recoup that money for New Milford.
Bass said they would look at the telephone, gas, electrical and other utilities bills. The company has also looked at telecommunications, water, sewage, printing and paper costs for other clients.
“It’s a full audit,” Bass said.
The utility auditing company did this for Bethel a few years ago, resulting in a $52,000 refund and reduced monthly charges on the town’s AT&T account. It was able to save more than 70 percent on its monthly telephone bill after the audit.
At the time of the Bethel audit, Lilli Steinberg, chief executive officer of TRI Utility Cost Reductions, said she’s able to do this by using her background in the Steinberg telecommunications companies where she learned the coding and tariffs that often result in the overcharges.
Bass said Bethel’s savings are now more than $100,000. He said he has heard these types of errors are common.
“We’ll find out in the audit,” he said.
He expects to come back to Town Council for final approval next month after negotiations. The audit will then take a couple of months.
“This is just another effort to maximize our ta payers’ dollars,” Bass said.
New Milford is already working with Celtic Energy to find other energy savings, though that’s a bigger lift because it requires capital improvements to make the buildings more energy efficient.
Under the agreement, Celtic Energy would suggest improvements, which would be paid for through the energy savings.
Celtic Energy will help the town select the energy service company from the bids the town receives, negotiate that contract and then oversee the in-depth energy audit that company will do. The work is then completed and the savings are verified.
Some examples of possible improvements are updating windows, heaters and boilers, as well as installing solar panels.