Setting up for Electric, Gas, and Water Meters

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There are a few different areas you need to address when setting up the software for reading meters and adding charges to the reservations.  A brief overview was given in the Setting up your Campground Database section, but here is a more detailed step-by-step guide.


This guide will mention Electric Meters specifically, but the same steps apply to Gas or Water -- just substitute the appropriate field names, rate types, etc. as appropriate.



Data Field Definitions


First you need to make sure the Site fields are enabled, through Data Field Definitions.


1. Go to Maintenance / Data Field Definitions / Site Fields.  

2. Locate the 3 fields associated with Electric meters -- Site_Meter_Last, Site_Meter_Date, and Site_Meter_Resv_Link.

3. Change the status to Enabled for all 3 of these sites (click on "Disabled" under Status and select "Enabled").


Second, you need to enable the Park field for the wrap-around number for your meters.  


1. Go to Maintenance / Data Field Definitions / Park Fields.  

2. Locate the "Wrap" field associated with the meter type you need -- Park_Wrap_Electric, Park_Wrap_Water, or Park_Wrap_Gas.

3. Change the status to Enabled for any of these you'll need for the meter types you use (click on "Disabled" under Status and select "Enabled").



Transaction Category


You need to enable or add the appropriate category for the charges.


1. Go to Maintenance / Pick Lists / Transaction Categories.

3. Check "Allow editing of fields".

4. Locate the category you want to use ("Electricity" or "Gas" or "Water").  If you don't see one that you want, add it by clicking "New Record" and enter appropriate text for the selection name, report heading, and abbreviation.

5. Change the Enabled status to "Yes".



Meter wrap-around numbers


Next, you need to enable the "wrap" field and set the wrap-around number for your meters.  


1. Go to Maintenance / Park Setup / Parks.

2. Enter the Meter wrap-around number for Electric meter.  This is almost always a 1 followed by 0's equal to the number of digits in the meter (enter 100000 for 5 digits, 1000000 for 6 digits, etc.).


In the simplest case, all meters will wrap at the same number, e.g. 10000 if it's a 4-digit meter, meaning that after 9999 it will turn over to 0, so 10000 = 0.  However you might have more than one type of meter with different numbers of digits.  If you happen to have two different types of meters, with different numbers of digits, then you can override the wrap-around numbers for individual Sites.  See Edit Site Details for more information.  Tip -- put the most commonly used wraps in the Park record, to minimize the number of sites for which you have to enter individual settings.



Enter previous/current meter readings (or correcting a reading)


In order for it to calculate the electric usage, it needs to know the previous reading for each site before you enter the new readings.  To do this, you need to go into each Site and enter a reading.


1. Go to Maintenance / Park Setup / Sites.

2. Select the first site (or the first one that has a meter) and click Edit site details.

3. Enter the Reading, under Electric Meter Last.  There's no need to enter a date at this time, since that will change automatically when you enter the new readings.

4. To quickly go through all of the sites, you can use the Next button instead of Saving and Editing each time.



Meter Rates


Now it needs to know how much to charge for each kilowatt-hour of the reading.  Some situations require complex tiered rates, for which there are step-by-step Rates Examples, but here's the basic procedure for creating a flat rate per kwH.


1. Go to Maintenance / Park Setup / Rates).

2. Click Add rate definition.

3. Select "Electric Meter" in the Rate Type field.

4. Enter "Electric meter" (or whatever you want) in the Description field.

5. Click the Charge button.

6. Select (click on) "Electricity" from the drop-down category list (or whatever category you might have added for this).

7. Press the Tab key to change to the Description field, and change it if you want (e.g. "Metered electric").  Keep in mind that the current and previous readings will automatically be added to this description on their receipt, for instance "Metered electric (2500-2200)".

8. Press the Tab key twice to get to the Each field (no Qty is necessary).

9. Enter the amount per unit, not including taxes, for instance ".0623". Notice that you can include the fractional cents as added decimal places.  It will show up to 4 places in the dialog, but the number will actually be stored and used for calculations exactly as you enter it.

10. Press the Tab key to accept the amount.

11. Check the boxes for one or more taxes under Auto-add tax, if they apply.

12. Click the Save button.



Entering readings & adding the appropriate charge -- Single Entry


Using the Batch entry report (below) is preferred even for one entry -- it keeps better historical information that allows you to "undo" an entry and charges if needed.  However you can also enter a single reading and have it calculate the charge for the reservation through the normal Reservation Transactions dialog.  Click on Select Rates, and then select the appropriate Rate Type (e.g. Electric Meter).  


If you have just a single rate for the amount per kwH, for instance, just double-click that rate (or select it and click "Add").  A simple dialog will appear showing the old reading and asking for the new meter reading.  Just enter the new reading and click Save. The Site record will be automatically updated with the new reading, date, and reservation, and the appropriate charge will be added to the reservation.


If you have multiple rates, either because you have both a base rate and a per-unit rate or you have multiple tiers, you would need to choose each rate that applies and add it separately.  In that case, it's probably better to just use the Batch entry method below even if you're doing it for just one reservation, since it will be more automatic and less error-prone.



Entering readings -- Batch entry


To enter many new readings at once, go to Reports / Electric Meter Readings.  With the default settings you might not see your sites or their occupants, so there are a few things you should do to configure this:


1. Go to Reports / Electric Meter Readings

2. Make sure Filter by last reading date is not checked.

3. Click Select Resv Types, and highlight all types that you might need to enter readings for (e.g. Normal and Monthly), and click OK.


Now you should see all sites that you had entered previous readings for above, and any with current reservations will show an occupant name.  To enter readings and put the charges on each reservation, just fill in the new readings under Batch Reading Entry and click Add Charges & Update Readings.  For more details, see the help/documentation on the Meter Readings report.



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