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A Beginner’s Guide to Submetering

While a number of different submetering methods can be used, introducing submetering as a management strategy can keep costs under control and tenants happy. Submetering is a system that allows property owners to measure the energy consumption by specific tenants across electricity, gas, and water meters. This allows them to properly allocate costs, discover sources of large expenses, properly bill occupants, and reduce their company’s carbon footprint. Overall the process is both economically and ecologically sound.

While sub metering is not standardized in Alberta, several property companies use their own submeter that provides tenants a detailed breakdown of their consumption. This helps them leverage off-peak energy rates and also manage their expenses based on time-of-day usage patterns.

For those unfamiliar with submetering, here are some of the basics you should know:

Who Should Install Submetering?

Submetering is used in various industries, but it is mostly used by property management companies and managers that have multiple tenants. This can range from properties leasing to human inhabitants, to residential condo buildings, to business leases. Some of the common users of submetering include mobile home parks, apartments, condominiums, townhouses, complexes, shopping centres, shopping malls, office buildings, and plazas. While the technicalities of the procedure may differ slightly, each type of establishment can benefit from its implementation.

How Does a Submeter Work?

Submetering involves installing meters that measure the energy consumption of each individual tenant of a property or set of properties. Reports can then be generated and serve multiple purposes: to bill tenants or to look into increasing a building’s energy efficiency.

What Happens If You Use Submetering?

Incorporating proper measurement of energy users creates a number of concrete and proven advantages for all parties involved. Firstly, it saves tenants money. In fact, it’s been proven that paying for one’s own utilities results in a decrease of up to 15% in utility use; since they’re paying for it they’re going to reduce their usage. This reduction has two effects: happier tenants and a smaller carbon footprint.

Secondly, tenants are happy because their bills are lower and because they are no longer potentially paying for other peoples’ energy use. They also have peace of mind when a third party is taking care of measurement because they know that they are being treated fairly when being billed.

Moreover, less consumption means a reduction in the ecological footprint of your establishment, making it more ecofriendly and contributing positively to the world. Overall, submetering is extremely advantageous in keeping customers content.

What Happens If You Don’t Use Submetering?

Different strategies are employed to divide the cost of utilities among tenants in a building, none of which are usually fair to property renters.

Sometimes the cost is divided equally by the number of units, not taking into account that each property is used differently and has different characteristics. Alternatively, the Ration Utility Billing System (RUBS) can be used, which often bases division of cost on square footage or occupant number. This is slightly different to the utility management solutions that local authorities may use to issue the initial bills and, unfortunately, even this method can be flawed, since the size of an apartment or condominium may not reflect the amount of water, lighting, or heating that is used in that space, and the same errors apply to other units of division.

Such inaccuracies can frustrate tenants, who will feel that they are paying for their neighbour’s excessive energy use. This system also negatively affects those working hard to minimize their energy consumption. There is no compensation for reduction of their carbon footprint, leading to less effort to be ecofriendly, and as a result the bill for the entire building will be noticeably larger.

Concluding Thoughts

In essence, submetering is a system that is quite beneficial to property management companies when implemented. It can work to improve building efficiency, increase tenant satisfaction, and lower negative environmental impact.

At Solution 105, we can get the right submeters for your needs in order to get the best financial, operational, and environmental benefits, we also provide ongoing read and bill services if a submetering system is already in place. Contact us to discover the best submetering system for your energy needs.