Electric Company Asset Account

edited January 2019 in Paying Bills (Windows)
Quicken 2019 Ver. R17.6 Build Windows 10.
I have electric heat and have established a payment budget with the utility company to even out my monthly payments.
I have tried adding an account of each type. When I enter a payment to the utility, I split categorize the portion of my electric bill payment to "Generation", "Distribution" and in the summer months a transfer to an account to show the buildup of a credit balance with the utility. Then in the winter there are transfers out of this account to pay for a portion of my electric bill.
When I split the payment, and include in the split a portion of the check total to be paid in advance to the utility, the account I set up shows a negative balance. This is just the opposite of what I believe it should be. In the summer, when I pay more than my bill, the extra should show as a positive amount in the Quicken account. In the winter when I am writing a check for less than the amount due the utility, the shortfall should be deducted from the Quicken account and categorized in the split of the check payment.


  • UKRUKR SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2019
    Way to too complicated, IMHO. Paying an annual average bill is supposed to make your life easier, not complicate it.
    Just use a regular scheduled reminder to pay your electric bill every month (11 average payments and 1 for the balance), categorized to Ultilities:Electricity. No asset, liability or whatever accounts needed.
    In your budget, set up the budgeted monthly amount as the total amount you expect to pay for the entire year, divided by 12. That'll be more or less than your monthly regular amount, but will balance out by the end of the year when the annual summary bill or refund is issued. If you turn on the monthly budget Rollover function for this category, you'll see how much the difference is between budgeted and actual.
  • Tom YoungTom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2019
    Forgetting the issue of "Generation" and "Distribution" and assuming that the bill each month shows what your actual "monthly" would be vs. what you're paying, then I'd simply set either a liability Account or an asset Account to accept the difference.  

    In the months when my "actual" bill is less than the agreed upon amount the asset Account balance would go up or, if I set up a liability Account, that liability Account would go down, potentially turning negative at some point.   In the months when my "actual" bill is more than the agreed upon amount then the asset Account would go down, potentially turning negative at some point, or the liability Account would go up.  If there's a "settle up" at some point and the accounting has been accurate then either the asset Account or the liability Account would zero out.

    I'm not sure what you mean when you say you set up "an account of each type."  You should only need your checking Account and one other Account, either an Asset or a Liability.  If your utility issues a bill that makes a distinction between Generation and Distribution and you want to keep track of that for some reason then you could set up Categories for those. 

    Here's a situation where your cash flow and your expenses have to diverge.  Example:  You pay $150, the agreed upon amount, when your "actual" is higher, say $175.  The accounting is

    Debit (increase) Electric utilities Category  $175
    Credit (decrease) Cash in bank                                $150
    Credit * Offsetting Account                                       $   25

    * - a decrease to an asset Account or an increase to a liability Account
  • Hi Tom Young,
    Your response was spot on. But I have set up my utility account as both an asset account and as a liability account.  When it is an asset account, excess payments (or credits) to the account results in a decrease of the asset account. When it is set up as a liability account, excess payments (or credits) to the account results in an increase of the liability account.
    Just the opposite of what I expect it should be.
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