PAL Program to Level Retail Tenant-Owner Playing Field
On January 14, 2010, REMCO Energy Solutions introduced “Prepaid Audit of Landlord Utility Charges” (PAL)--a new program for multi-site retail chains that levels the playing field with mall owners. “Mall owners find utility bill adjustments a fertile ground for making handsome profits at the expense of their tenants,” says REMCO spokeswoman, Mary Ann Milsop. The company currently offers a suite of products and services designed to audit, manage, reduce, control, and pay utility expenses in a manner that turns lost profits into revenues.
“As owners perform under pressure to maintain profits during a struggling economy, the likelihood of them overcharging their tenants on utility expenses is on the rise,” says Milsop. “We've seen increases not only in the amount, but also in the number of utility bill adjustments and back billings for prior years,” she adds. Adjustments are so confusing and baffling to most retailers that they end up paying whatever the owner says that they owe, according to Milsop, who points out that, in reality, most retailers do not have access to an outside consulting firm that specializes in analyzing an owner’s utility bill adjustments. And adjustments very well may be higher than the actual charge.
PAL allows a retailer that disagrees with the owner’s increase in utility bill adjustments to send them directly to REMCO to be reviewed by engineers. In the event of an overcharge, the engineers provide the retailer with a fully documented claim to be sent to the owner based upon their store’s lease language. And REMCO will handle the retailer’s claim against the owner until it is settled.