Utility submeter

, or other multi-tenant property to bill tenants for individual measured utility usage.Fact|date=August 2008

Overview

Typical users of submetering are mobile home parks, apartment complexes, and commercial buildings. Usually, utility submetering is placed in situations were the local utility cannot or will not individually meter the utility in question. Municipal Utility companies are often reluctant to take on metering individual spaces for several reasons. One reason is that rental space tenants tend to be more transient and are more difficult to collect from. By billing only the owner, they can place liens on real property if not paid (as opposed to tenants they may not know exist or who have little to lose if they move without paying). Utilities also generally prefer not to have water meters beyond their easement (i.e., the property boundary), since leaks to a service line would be before the meter and could be of less concern to a property owner. Other reasons include difficulty in getting access to meters for reading, or electrical systems and plumbing not suitable for submetering.Fact|date=August 2008

Before submetering, many landlords either included the utility cost in the bulk price of the rent or lease, or divided the utility usage among the tenants in some way such as equally, by square footage, or some other means. Without a meter to measure individual usage, there is less incentive to conserve or stop water leaks, since the other tenants or landlord may pay all or part of those costs. Submetering creates awareness of water and Energy conservation since the tenant will pay for all of their usage and any leaks they allow to remain unrepaired. Conservation also allows property owners to keep the cost of rent reasonable and fair for all units regardless of how much water or energy they consume.Fact|date=August 2008

ystem design

A submetering system typically includes a "master meter", which is owned by the utility supplying the water, electricity, or gas, with overall usage billed directly to the property owner. The property owner or manager then places their own private meters on individual tenant spaces to determine individual usage levels and bill each tenant for their share. In some cases, the landlord might add the usage cost to the regular rent or lease bill. In other cases, a third party might read, bill, and possibly even collect for the service. Some of these companies also install and maintain meters and reading systems.Fact|date=August 2008

The latestclarifyme|date=July 2008 trend in submetering is Automatic Meter Reading, or AMR. This technology is used to get from meter reading to billing by an automated electronic means. This can be by handheld computers that collect data using touch wands, walk or drive-by radio, fixed network systems where the meter has a transmitter or transceiver that sends the data to a central location, or transmission via Wi-Fi, cellular, or Internet connections.Fact|date=August 2008

Although not technically submetering, an alternate method of utility cost allocation called RUBS (Ratio Utility Billing Systems) is sometimes used to allocate costs to tenants when true submetering is not practical or not possible due to plumbing or wiring constraints. This method divides utility costs by square footage, number of occupants, or some other combination of cost ratios.Fact|date=August 2008

ubmetering in the world

Submeters take many forms. For example, Central heating in apartment blocks in Belgium and Switzerland is sometimes submetered with liquid filled calibrated vials attached to each of the heating radiators. The metering company visits the apartments about one a year and reads the liquid level and replaces the vials. Some apartment owners have replaced the vials with electronic submeters that transmit temperature readings via radio to a master unit in each apartment. The master unit in turn transmits collated readings to the utility company, thereby saving both labour costs and inconvenience to both tenant and landlord. The master unit displays a number representing the current total of "heating value".Fact|date=August 2008expand|date=July 2008

ubmetering history and laws

The concept of submetering was effectively "invented" sometime in the 1920s, when many laws currently affecting submetering were written.Fact|date=August 2008clarifyme|date=July 2008 However, submetering really did not take a hold in the property management world until the late 1980s, with the ever increasing costs associated with utilities and a more aware society of environmental conservation. Rent controls in some cities has also created an incentive to conserve and keep landlord costs under control.Fact|date=August 2008clarifyme|date=July 2008

Landlords or property management companies wishing to submeter should check the laws of their state or locality. Many states regulate submetering with some of the same laws as a public utility. There is a chance a landlord may be responsible for water quality in some jurisdictions, as well as periodic testing of meter accuracy. Some states require that no profit be made for submetering to keep from being held to the same standards as a licensed public utility.Fact|date=August 2008clarifyme|date=July 2008

Utilities submetered

*Natural Gas
*Water - both cold and hot water
*Electricity
*HVAC (few companies offer this technology)
*Cable television
*Steam
*Internet (projected)

ee also

* Automatic meter reading
* Distributed generation
* Electricity meter
* Feed-in Tariff
* Flow measurement
* Gas meter
* Net metering
* Smart meter
* Water meter

References

External links

* [http://www.nmhc.org/Content/ServeContent.cfm?IssueID=132&ContentItemID=1284 NMHC Article] - Water Submetering: A Regulatory Overview
* [http://www.epa.gov/ogwdw/wsg/wsg_118.pdf EPA Memorandum] - Submetering Water Systems
* [http://www.epa.gov/ow/you/submeter.html EPA website] - Section on submetering
* [http://www.nsuaa.org/ NSUAA] - National Submetering & Utility Automation Association
* [http://www.utilimetrics.org/ Utilimetrics] - Non-profit industry trade association for AMR and AMI
*Dmoz|Business/Energy/Utilities/Equipment/Meters_and_Metering/|"Submetering Companies"


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