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Consolidated & Summary Billing

Why doesn’t my 35-page invoice contain more than a single account? I thought Arcadia separated consolidated billing documents into individual property accounts?

Will I receive individual e-bills (PDFs) for each account when Arcadia delivers the summary invoice data?
Do individual account invoices contain more data than consolidated invoices?


Utility providers are frequently asked to reduce paper and increase the convenience of invoicing on behalf of their large corporate enterprise customers. Certain types of utility customers can have dozens or even hundreds of accounts behind a single utility. For these customers, paying an individual monthly bill for each account requires significant effort. Upon customer request, summary billing combines all active accounts for a Utility service area (belonging to a single customer/enterprise) into a single monthly invoice document. Customer accounts are normally identified and merged via a shared federal tax identification number.

Aside from eliminating physical paper copies from the transaction, summary billing allows accounts-payable teams to execute a single payment for a collection of utility accounts instead of paying each property individually for each invoice period. This is the primary efficiency gained through the billing policy change, but it can be significant process improvement for large regional and national corporations.

For Arcadia, however, summary bills present a challenge to the Invoice Data Model which is the foundation of all of our products. In the default billing scenario, a single invoice has a single payable account number. But summary bills do not fit this architecture. Summary invoices have multiple (previously independent) account numbers consolidated into a single invoice ‘master’ document.

This style of data aggregation and presentation most often results in a loss of data detail by meter and complicates Arcadia’s service level agreements. Consolidated billing agreements often mean any anomaly or complication relating to a single utility account will negatively impact all the other accounts included in the summary transaction. Any problem for a single account becomes a problem for all accounts in the same invoice. In any given month, ninety nine ‘healthy’ accounts may be subject to delay because of an anomaly in one 'unhealthy' account. If those same one hundred accounts were processed individually (and not via consolidated billing), the single delayed account would not have any negative influence on the other ninety-nine independent accounts.

Summary Billing Policy

According to the Arcadia data model, summary billing only exists as a result of specific utility customer requests. No Utility provider issues summary billing as a default practice. By attempting to model summary billing invoices, Arcadia is accommodating those customer requests for more ‘simplified’ account payable operations. However, Arcadia platforms are engineered to support individual, detailed invoices and services will be limited as a result of summary billing agreements. In any scenario where Arcadia has access to both the individual and summary invoices, Arcadia will always opt to process and deliver data from the individual invoice sources (and dispense with any summary billing formats). Wherever possible, Arcadia will also discourage customers from engaging in summary billing practices.

Criteria for Summary Billing

The functional definition of summary billing is the presence of multiple (Publisher) Provider accounts in a single statement. It is not required that a Provider advertise any particular invoice as “consolidated” or “summary” billing. Furthermore, it is not required that a distinct master or summary account number exist.

Many large commercial enterprises maintain properties whose utility invoices represent multiple (perhaps even dozens) of meters in a single invoice. Of particular note for Arcadia, multiple meter scenarios are not necessarily summary invoices. In order for an invoice to qualify as summary billing, there must be evidence that distinct properties, sites, and meter collections in any one invoice would have otherwise been invoiced independently. The most important requirement being the existence of respective account numbers for each property.

  • Premise identifiers are not recognized as (sub)account numbers.
  • Point of Delivery identifiers are not recognized as (sub)account numbers.
  • Site codes are not recognized as (sub)account numbers.

Generally speaking, just because an invoice lists separate properties across multiple addresses (regardless of whether arranged in proximity or miles apart) does not mean that Arcadia will necessarily consider that document a summary invoice. The necessary explicit keys must exist in order for our model to maintain organized, persistent tracking of customer inventories. An account number parent of 35 child meters is very different from an invoice with 35 child account numbers, each possessing a single meter. Arcadia will not generate or synthesize (sub)account numbers for child meters when no explicit (sub)accounts exist.

Frequently asked questions

What Arcadia policy exists when a provider does publish a ‘master’ account number along with a series of valid (sub)account numbers, but the ‘master’ account number is identical to one of the (sub)accounts (often the ‘first’ [sub]account and the ‘master’ account number match)?

If the summary account number is identical to a sub-account, it will cause reconciliation errors in the Arcadia enrollment tracking and in SLA monitoring. Because of this, Arcadia will disqualify the ‘master’ account from data extraction where possible. There will be no summary account number delivered– it will be null and the first sub-account will receive the account number value.

Is an invoice that represents an entire calendar year of service ever considered to be a summary billing incident?

When a provider publishes a single invoice that is essentially a history "inventory" for an account, it may appear as a summary style bill. The statement itself cites multiple periods or months of distinct usage and charges, each with its own totals in usage and charges, possibly each with its own balances, and adjustments. The crucial characteristic in such statements will be that the entire document is referencing the same account number for different measurement periods (not an array of distinct account numbers). Any such multiple service period invoice would only be modeled as a multiple meter (single account number) invoice


Summary billing scenarios must precisely meet the criteria outlined above. It is critical that this information and it’s implications are carefully considered before a prospect is signed or onboarded. Many customers have certain expectations about the convenience and efficiency of summary billing that do not match the capabilities of the Arcadia platform. Furthermore, there are sometimes unintended consequences when customers are not mindful of the limitations imposed by the providers themselves.

Arcadia understands the customer’s desire for more streamlined accounts payable operations. But our services are much better suited to support thousands of individual, detailed invoices rather than sourcing from large consolidated billing agreements. Wherever possible, Arcadia customers should disaggregate summary billing enrollments in order to receive the highest level of service.