Energy Billing

Requirement

You need a smart-me Professional subscription to be able to create energy bills.

Video smart-me billing

This video explains step by step how to configure a property in the Billing Tool.

Configure billing step by step

With this step-by-step guide we would like to support you in configuring your billing. Please note that this is only an example to guide you. Depending on the structure of your property, there will be differences to our example.

1. Install and label the meter

Before you can start with the configuration, all meters must be installed in the relevant account. Once this is done, we recommend that you label the meters to get a better overview. This is done in the settings of the individual meter.

Our recommendation for meter designations:
Medium_Unit_serial number (see example on the right)
In this way, this information is sent directly with reports or alarms in the event of a malfunction.

2. Create folder structure and assign counters

Create a folder for the property (here Sample Street 1) and for all billing units (here Apartment 1, Apartment 2 and General). The folders for the billing units are subordinated to the property folder.

Now drag and drop the meters into the corresponding billing units.

You can read how the folder configuration works here.

Tip: If you have meters in your account that you do not need, you can deactivate them and move them to a separate folder (here Inactive meters). No licences have to be paid for deactivated meters, but you cannot access their readings and new readings are not saved. You can read how to deactivate a meter in our FAQ.

Note: Our billing only works with folder structures that have two levels (1st level: property, 2nd level: billing unit). No subfolders (level 3 folders or higher) are recognised.

3. Create property

Click on Configuration, Create Invoice, Configuration again and then Add Property. Select the property you created in step 2. It will now be displayed together with the billing units on the left side under Properties.

4. Add billing addresses

A billing address must be added to each billing unit that has to be billed. To do this, click on the corresponding billing unit on the left and click on Add under Billing Address. A window opens in which you can enter the data of the invoice recipients.

If no address is entered for a billing unit, no invoice is generated for it. This may be desired in some cases, for example if you want to distribute the general meter to all tenants.
In our example, no addresses are added to the PV and general billing units.

Note: An invoice is generated for each billing address stored in a settlement unit, even if the fields Address and E-mail are empty. If, for example, you enter two tenants in a settlement unit, invoices will be generated for both.

5. Assign meters to the billing units

When creating the property, the meters are automatically added to the billing unit in whose folder they are located. However, it may be desired that a meter is distributed proportionally to other billing units. In our example, the general meter must be divided between the two flats.

Click on the corresponding billing unit and scroll to the Electricity window. The meter of the billing unit is already displayed here (in the example, the meter of Appartment 1) Now click on Add, select the required meter and specify the percentage to be charged to the billing unit.
It is important that the meters are distributed exactly 100 %. For this reason, the general meter in our example is deleted from the billing unit General. Otherwise it would be distributed 200 % (50 % for both tenants and 100 % in the general folder).

The explained procedure works analogously for the other energy types (heat, cold, etc.).

Tip: In most cases, the general meter should be distributed equally among all tenants/billing units. For example, with 3 tenants, this results in a percentage of 33.3333.... %. In such a case, please enter the percentage to three decimal places (i.e. 33.333 % for each of 3 tenants).

6. Configure tariffs

In smart-me billing, you can either work with electricity tariffs or with virtual tariffs.

6a. Virtual tariffs

Virtual tariffs allow you to define your own dynamic tariff model for energy billing. This can be used to distinguish between tenants drawing electricity from a solar installation or from the grid for their own consumption if merging of private energy consumption (tenant electricity) is used.

Please note that all normal electricity tariffs must be deleted.

You will see all the virtual tariffs that have already been entered under Virtual tariffs. Click on Add.

Name: The name of the tariff is also displayed to the user (tenant)

Tariff type

  • Battery tariff: This can be used to charge for battery energy

  • Solar tariff: This can be used to charge for solar energy

  • Normal tariff: This is used to charge for the grid electricity. If required, this can also be divided into high and low tariff periods.

Solar or battery meter

For the solar and battery tariff, you must specify a meter that measures all consumers to which this energy is to be distributed. This can also be a virtual meter that totals all consumers (note that virtual meters require an additional licence).

Balance meter (optional)
A balance meter can optionally be specified for the solar tariff. If the balance meter is specified, the energy that is fed into the grid is taken into account when calculating the solar tariff. This means that for each 15 minutes, only the solar energy that was actually consumed in the building is distributed (energy available = PV production - grid feed-in).

Price/kWh: The price for this tariff

Valid from: The start date from which this tariff applies

Valid until: The end date for the validity of this tariff

Additional condition
You can define when this tariff is valid with an additional condition. This can be a time period (e.g. for high/low tariff) or any other condition. The condition must have been defined beforehand as an If/ Then action.

For the solar and battery tariff, we do not recommend specifying an additional condition. If you still want to use high/low tariff for the solar and battery tariff, you have to define an If/ Then action for each high and low tariff. Then you can assign the high and low tariff condition to the tariff type "Normal tariff" and "Solar tariff".

Example:

  • High tariff: Mon to Fri 7h00 to 22h00 or Sat 7h00 to 13h00

  • Low tariff: Mon to Fri 22h00 to 7h00 or Sat 13h00 to 7h00 or Sun 0h00 to 0h00

Note:

  • When you have defined all tariffs, it is mandatory to click on "Recalculate". This calculates and activates all virtual tariffs. This process can take a few hours.

6b. Electricity tariffs

To access the electricity tariff settings, click on the property on the left and scroll to the green Tariffs Electricity window. Here the two tariffs T1 and T2 are displayed. Select one of the tariffs and click on Edit to make changes to its properties (e.g. name, price, etc.).

In order to be able to work with the electricity tariffs, the tariff signal of the electricity company must be connected to the tariff input of the corresponding meters.

6c. Water, heat, cold and gas

For other energy types (heat, cold water, etc.) there is a standard tariff for which the properties can be adjusted analogously.

7. Configure other costs

Additional cost items can be added in the Others field.

Example: The basic costs for meter rental and services must be charged monthly.

8. Recalculate

If the virtual tariffs are used, click on Recalculate at the end of the configuration (as well as for any later configuration changes). This will recalculate all past values.

9. Create an alarm for a connection failure

In this way, you will notice at an early stage if a meter fails and minimise the resulting gap in measurement data. You can see more about this under Alarms.

Helpful hints

Create a separate account for each ZEV.

This way, any transfers of properties are easier, as meters can only be moved to another account by reinstalling them. Past measurement data is not transferred and remains in the old account.

Visualisation

A new tile is now displayed in the default view of the residence folder. It specifies the meter readings for the virtual tariffs. Clicking on this tile will display the load profile for the virtual tariffs.

Tenant view

A special view for tenants is available for the virtual tariffs. This shows the current energy consumption (electricity) and the origin (solar or grid). In addition, the percentage origin of the energy is displayed in a bar.

Example of solar power sharing

Example

A house consists of two flats and a solar installation. The following tariffs are defined:

  • Solar power: 0.16 CHF / kWh

  • Mains power: 0.25 CHF / kWh

Tenant A is not often at home during the day and mainly uses grid electricity (in the evening):

  • Daily consumption: 6 kWh

  • Solarstrom: 10%

  • Mains power: 90%

Tenant B tries to consume solar power as much as possible (consumers mainly run when the sun is shining):

  • Daily consumption: 6 kWh

  • Solar power: 70%

  • Mains power: 30%

Tenant A and tenant B have the same energy consumption. However, since tenant B uses more solar electricity, he benefits from the cheaper solar electricity tariff.

  • Costs Tenant A:

    • Solar power: 0.6 * 0.16 CHF = 0.096 CHF

    • Mains power: 5.4 * 0.25 CHF = 1.35 CHF

    • Total: 1.45 CHF

  • Costs Tenant B:

    • Solar power: 4.2 * 0.16 CHF = 0.672 CHF

    • Mains power: 1.8 * 0.25 CHF = 0.45 CHF

    • Total: 1.12 CHF

Error messages and warnings

The calculation does not start

Possible causes:

  • In the solar or battery tariff, the solar or total consumption meter is not added.

  • In the solar or battery tariff, the solar or total consumption meter has been incorrectly selected a folder.

  • All tariffs are conditional (if/then actions for HT and NT) and none is ever valid.

  • The folder structure of the property is single-level (only billing units), but should be two-level (property and billing units).

  • A virtual meter was chosen for the balance meter.

The virtual tarifs do not match the total consumption

Possible causes:

  • A meter relevant to billing is offline and thus stops the calculation. Try to bring the meter back online so that the calculation can continue.

  • A meter was billed above or below 100% (e.g.: The general meter is divided among the billing units on a percentage basis and also 100% in the general folder, so it is billed at 200%).

  • The billing period (From) includes the installation day and/or the billing period (To) is set to today.

  • The meters did not provide load profile data for the entire billing period.

  • Not all necessary meters were assigned to the solar or battery tariff during tariff configuration.

  • The calculation of the billing has not yet been completed and the bill has already been generated. The "last calculated values" must show the current date.

  • The configuration was changed (e.g. folder structure, tariffs, etc.) and "recalculate" was not clicked.

  • The conditions of the tariffs overlap (i.e. are active at the same time) and the system does not know which tariff it should now assign the values to.

  • The tariffs do not cover the entire period and there is energy that cannot be allocated to any tariff. This usually happens when there is no normal tariff without a condition.

  • A meter was offline for more than 2 months and the billing period starts or ends in the period in which the data is no longer available. (Gap)

Invoices are generated empty or not at all.

Possible causes:

  • No valid billing address was stored for the corresponding billing unit (note the time period) -> our system otherwise assumes that no tenant lives in the flat and accordingly does not generate a bill.

  • No meters for billing were assigned to the billing unit.

  • The folder structure is incorrect (more than 2-level: property - billing unit (tenant)).

  • For virtual tariffs: The tariffs are not valid in the desired billing period (adjust the tariff period if necessary).

The calculation does start at a much later date then the installation

Possible cause:

  • A new counter has been added which is at the first position in the folder structure -> Set the new counter to another position by changing the name (the counters are sorted alphabetically). The date of the first counter in the folder structure is relevant for the start time of the calculation.

The calculation is stuck at a specific date.

Possible causes:

  • A meter relevant for billing has not sent any data (check the last connection of the meters and bring it back online).

  • Incorrect meters are stored for the tariff (e.g. meters from another property).

No values found for start date or end date

Possible causes:

  • A billing-relevant meter is offline.

  • The billing period (From) corresponds to the installation day and/or the billing period (To) is set to today.

  • The billing period (From) is before the installation day and/or the billing period (To) is in the future.

  • A meter has been offline for more than 2 months and the billing period starts or ends in the period where the data is no longer available. (Gap)

  • The selected year is wrong