Meter Reading Reports

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These are accessed through Reports / Electric Meter Readings (or Water Meter Readings, or Gas Meter Readings).  The three meter reading reports are identical except for which meter fields they report.  Any of these reports may be disabled, if the corresponding Site Data Fields for meter support are disabled.  They show the site name, the current occupant (the reservation scheduled for today, if any), the last reading date, and the last reading.   Reservation access level is required to view this report.  


These reports show the current meter reading as well as an input field to "batch" enter new readings (which can also be used for recording the readings on the printed report).  If the Rates are set up properly for automatic charge calculation, this is the easiest and quickest way to add meter charges to reservations.  It can also be used to adjust the readings for sites with no reservation.



Setting Up for Meter Support


Before using these reports, you'll need to have some things set up for meter support.  Refer to the "Setting up for Electric, Gas and Water Meters" section in Maintenance for details on setting up the database for doing meter readings.



Report Settings


Show only sites with previous readings -- This is selected by default, which generally will be any sites that actually have meters.  If you want to see all sites even if they don't have previous meter readings (such as when entering readings for the first time), uncheck this box.


Filter by last reading date -- This allows you to select a date range for the last reading.  This is handy for getting a list of meters that need to be read (and customers billed) for the current day or week.  By default, the start date will be 45 days ago and the end date will be 25 days ago, so it will show any readings up to 2 weeks "overdue" and any readings that will be "due" within about 5 days (assuming a monthly reading schedule.  These dates can be changed as preferred, and the changes will be saved in terms of the number of days prior to the current day (so for instance the 45-to-25 days range is saved, not the actual dates).


Reservation Types to show/charge -- (As of version 11.4, this option is disabled by default through the Access Levels (the required access level is set to "Nobody"), because the filter was often set accidentally and caused the charges to not be added.  If you require filtering by reservation type, you will need to lower the required access level as appropriate.)   This can be used to filter which reservation types will show an Occupant on the sites, and thus have charges added.  For instance, if you read all meters but only want to add meter charges to your Monthly reservations, then click Select Resv Types and select only the Monthly type.  Therefore when new meter readings are entered in batch mode, the last reading of the sites with no occupant listed will be updated as, but no charges will be added to a reservation.  If you want all reservations to be shown regardless of the type, then you need to clear all selections in the Resv Types list (which means no filtering).


Actual date of reading -- If you don't have time to do all of the bookkeeping on the same day that the meters are read, you can set this date to effectively back-date the readings.  Not only will it show this date in the site's "last reading" information, but it will also use this date to determine which reservation (occupant) should be billed for the electricity (whoever was in the site on that date), and also which meter rates should be used (if you have multiple rates that depend on the date).


There may also be other cases where you want to set the "actual date" -- for instance if someone checked out yesterday but you didn't check the meter until today, and now someone else has checked in that site, then set this date to yesterday so that the previous occupant gets charged instead of the new occupant.  Likewise, if the new season rates take effect today but you want to give someone the previous electric rates for last month's usage, back up this date to use the previous rates.


Show / charge previous occupant (up to 31 days prior) if the site is currently empty -- This can be handy if you only read meters once per month even though the occupant might have left sometime earlier in the month.  Of course it would have no effect if a new occupant is already in the site (in which case you need to use the "Actual date" setting above), but if it's at the end of the season and nobody new is coming in, then you can use this option to make sure charges go on the last occupant even though they're gone already.


All of the options above are saved in the database and will be used the next time you use any meter reading report (all of the meter reports use the same option settings).


By default the list is sorted by site, but you can change this to any order you like.  Once you have the list showing what you need, you can print the list. There should be plenty of room left on the paper to enter the new reading, so it can be used as a walk-around list.


Show Previous -- This will add a column showing the previous reading and date.  If a new entry has been added and Updated during this session (e.g. since you opened the report dialog), then it the reading form just prior to entering it will be shown.  If no new entry has been Updated, then it will check Meter History.  If a previous History entry is found, it will be shown in gray with "History:" in front of it.



Before entering new readings -- Make sure it shows the expected Sites and Occupants


Before entering any readings, you need to make sure that all appropriate Sites are listed, and also that each site shows the appropriate Occupant (customer to be charged, if you're going to use Add charges and update readings).


If the Site is shown but Occupant is empty:


1. Verify that the correct Reservation Types are selected if the "Reservation Types to show" option is enabled -- The simplest thing to do is clear the Resv Types selection list (click Select Resv Types, then click Clear All Selections).  This will make sure it's not filtering out any types, so any reservation on the site for the appropriate date will be shown.


2. Make sure that a reservation is really on the Site during the correct time period --  Normally, it will show the occupant as of the "Actual date of reading" you have selected.  So make sure that is set to the appropriate date, but also check the Rack to make sure the expected reservation is actually showing on that date (e.g. did not end too soon, or start after the date).  If you do need to add charges for someone who checked out before that date, then select the option "Show / charge previous occupant" so it will show them (assuming they checked out within 31 days of the "Actual date of reading").


If the Site is not shown at all:


1. Try unchecking "Show only sites with previous readings".  If the Site is shown now, that means it must not have a reading yet -- in which case you also need to manually set a "previous reading" for it -- see below for entering Manual Adjustments.


2. Uncheck "Filter by last reading date".  The dates for may not this default to a range that works for you (see above for details), so it may be best to not use that option so it will show the Sites no matter when their last reading date was, as well as if they never had a reading done.




Right-click and double-click


Functions to enter readings or view details are available on the right-click menu -- click on any cell that's not empty, such as the Site Name or Occupant.  You can enter new readings and add the charges to the current reservation, or enter manual adjustments without charging a reservation.  You can also view site details or reservation details, of view meter reading history for that site.  


Note that the double-click function is different depending on which column you click on and whether a reservation is shown:


Site Name -- Double-clicking in this column will open Site Details, where you can directly enter a meter reading without charging a reservation.


Occupant -- Double-clicking in this column will open Reservation Details.  From there you could go to New/Edit Transactions to enter charges if desired (but there's a more direct way to enter meter charges, described below.)


Reading Date or Meter Reading -- Double-clicking on one of these columns will open a dialog where you can enter the new meter reading.  However there is a slight difference depending on whether a reservation is shown.  When the site has no occupant shown, you simply enter the reading and Save it, and the site's reading is updated.  If there is an occupant shown, it will actually open the Transactions / Select Rates for the occupant's reservation and then the meter reading entry dialog.  When you enter a reading here, the charges will be added to the reservation automatically.  For more information, see Entering Single Meter Readings below.


Batch Reading Entry -- Double-clicking in this column will simply put the cursor in that field so you can enter a new reading for batch processing (see below).



Entering Single Meter Readings


Manual Adjustments / Correcting the starting reading


You can manually adjust readings from the right-click menu (Site Details) or by double-clicking on any Site Name.  This will open the Site Details dialog, where you can enter a new reading.  Remember, however, that entering a reading this way will clear the reservation link so you won't be able to use the "View reservation read by" button, and also does not add charges to a reservation.  This should only be used if you need to manually adjust the "previous" reading before entering a new reading for rate calculation.



Normal reading entry and auto-calculation


The Batch Entry method (below) is preferred even for single entries, but you can also select the Add Meter Charges to Reservation option from the right-click menu, or double-click on the old meter reading, to enter a meter reading and have the appropriate charges added to a reservation.  This will take you directly to the Transactions dialog with Select Rates opened up to show the appropriate rates definitions for the meter (electric, gas or water as appropriate). If there is only one rate available, that rate will automatically be used and all you have to do is enter the new reading.  Just enter the new reading, (and the actual date of the reading if it wasn't today), and press the "Done (auto-close...)" button on the meter reading entry dialog to immediately close the transactions dialog and get back to the meter list.  


Note that meter wrap-around is handled automatically, as long as the correct wrap-around figure is set in Maintenance / Park Setup / Parks.  For instance if the meter only has 4 digits and the last reading was 9900 but it now shows 0200, just enter 200 and it will know that 300 units were used.


If you need to enter other charges or want to print a receipt immediately, then instead of using the "Done..." button, click Save after entering the new reading.  The Transactions / Rates dialogs will remain open.


You can also open the Reservation Details for the site's current occupant by double-clicking the occupant name.  You will then be able to use that dialog's New / Edit Transactions button to add a meter charge for that reservation as above (it just takes a few more steps this way).


After entering a reading (or multiple readings), you can use the Print buttons at the bottom to print receipts, envelopes, or labels for all of the reservations with new readings.




Entering Multiple Meter Readings (Batch Entry)


When many meter readings need to be entered and charges applied to reservations, the batch entry method is quickest.  Just click on the empty "Batch Reading Entry" column for the site -- the cell will be blue (selected) -- and type the new reading, then press Enter or Tab to step to the next row.  The new readings will remain in this column and will be in a light yellow color.  As with single readings, wrap-around is handled automatically (if the wrap-around is within a 25% range).  An error will be shown if the figure you enter cannot be understood as either greater than the previous reading or a reasonable wrap-around.


If you have linked/synchronized reservations, you may have the option to Handle synchronized reservations individually.  If this box is checked, the meter charges for each site will be added to the individual reservations.  However, other charges for synchronized reservations are usually added to the Master reservation instead of the individual reservations -- so to be consistent and avoid having to print multiple invoices, leave this option unchecked.


You can also select the date of the actual readings (using the "Actual Date of Readings" date entry).  This will not affect the date of the charges (that will always be the current day), but if the meters were actually read on a previous day, select the appropriate date here so that the information is correct on the sites.  (If some meters were read on different dates, enter readings from each day one at a time, set the reading date, and Add Charges... then repeat for each additional day, resetting the date each time.)


IMPORTANT: When using batch entry, make sure that the Occupant column shows the names for all of the reservations to be charged -- if no Occupant is shown for a site, then the reading will be changed on the site without adding any charges to a reservation.  If you don't see all of the appropriate occupants, then you probably need to select the correct type(s) in "Reservation Types to show / charge" at the top.  You may also need to check the "Show / charge previous occupant" box if you're trying to add charges to reservations that already checked out.


Once all of the batch readings are entered, click the "Add Charges & Update Readings" button.  Charges will be automatically applied to each of the current reservation (if there is a reservation for the site of the appropriate Reservation Type it will be shown in the Occupant column), and the site will be updated with the new reading.  A new "Charges" column will also be added to the report showing the charges that were added for each reservation. This is handy for verifying that your Rates are set up properly for it to calculate the correct charges (see below).


These steps may be repeated to enter more readings if necessary, just don't close the dialog before printing invoices or else it won't remember which ones need to be printed.


There are two Rates Setup requirements for adding meter charges automatically:


1. There must be one and only one meter rate defined (for that meter type) with the "Ask for meter reading" option that will apply to the current reservation on the current date.  If there is more than one, an error will be reported and the reading will not be updated.  Note that if you have multiple rates defined with different date ranges, it will use the one that applies to the current date, regardless of the reservation's dates.


2. There may also be one other meter rate that does not have the "Ask for meter reading" option.  This can be used for a non-multiplying "base rate" that applies each time the meter is read, for instance if your charges require a $5 per month base fee plus actual usage.



Note: Be careful about using batch entry to enter "adjustment" readings or charges for short-term customers -- when using the "Add Charges" function, it will assume that the current reservation in each site should be charged for the meter.  So if the wrong customer is already on that site when the readings are entered, the charges will be applied to the wrong reservation.  In this case you should find the correct reservation and go through its Transactions / Select Rate(s) to enter the new meter reading.  Or if it's just an adjustment with no charges to be applied to a reservation, use the Site Details to enter the new reading.



Printing Invoices


After all of the readings are entered (using either the single or multiple method), you can print the invoices for all of the new charges, and also print labels or envelopes if needed.  Using these buttons will open the appropriate dialogs to print Batch Receipts or Mailing Labels/Envelopes.  Further options for printing can be found in those sections.  As long as the Meter Reading report dialog is kept open, it will remember which reservations have new charges to be printed so you can use the print functions multiple times as needed.  However if you do exit the dialog and come back in, then it will offer to retrieve the last set of readings/charges entered if you click the Print Invoices (or E-mail Invoices) button before adding any more new charges.



E-mailing Invoices


In addition to printing, you can E-mail invoices to those who have E-mail addresses.  This works basically the same way as printing, using the Reservation E-mail list function to preview the list of reservations sending to, allowing specific selection if needed, which E-mail form to send, etc. If some of the reservations to be "printed" were not E-mailed successfully (e.g. they didn't have an E-mail address or you canceled part way through), then you will be given the option to keep those not E-mailed in the to-be-printed so you can print physical invoices for just those reservations.



Undo Readings...


This button will allow you to revert selected readings back to the previous value, e.g. if you made a mistake and need to start over, or you didn't have options selected properly to show the Occupants (so it skipped those charges), or if problems with the Rates caused the charges to be calculated incorrectly.  If your Access Level is sufficient, it will also offer to delete any transactions that were added for the charges.  Normally you would use Undo on the same day to fix problems -- however, since it tracks history you can even undo readings (and charges) later, if your Access Level is sufficient.  (By default, nobody can Undo readings more than 7 days old.)


To use this, select one or more lines in the report (click on an entry to highlight a cell in the line), then click Undo Readings.  (If the last reading was entered before you started using version 10.0, then this will not work since there will be no meter history.)  After confirming the prompt(s), the previous reading will be shown.  Now you can simply re-enter the correct reading.



Viewing Meter Reading History


You can view all previous readings entered using the View Meter Reading History button.  (Meter History was not available in version 9.2 or earlier, so history will only begin as of when you upgraded to the next later version.)  You can also right-click on a site and select "View Meter Reading History for this site". See the Meter History topic for details.



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