What is UTILITY SUBMETER? What does UTILITY SUBMETER mean? UTILITY SUBMETER meaning – SUBMETER definition – SUBMETER explanation.
Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under license.
Utility submetering is the implementation of a system that allows a landlord, property management firm, condominium association, homeowners association, or other multi-tenant property to bill tenants for individual measured utility usage. The approach makes use of individual water meters, gas meters, or electricity meters per the relevant utility.
Submetering may also refer to the monitoring of the electrical consumption of individual equipment within a building, such as HVAC, indoor and outdoor lighting, refrigeration, kitchen equipment and more. In addition to the “main load” meter used by utilities to determine overall building consumption, submetering utilizes individual “submeters” that allow building and facility managers to have visibility into the energy use and performance of their equipment, creating opportunities for energy and capital expenditure savings.
Typically a multi-tenant dwelling has either one master meter for the entire property or a meter for each building and the property is responsible for the entire utility bill. Submetering allows property owners who supply utilities to their tenants the ability to account for each tenant’s usage in measurable terms. By fairly billing each tenant for their portion, submetering promotes conservation and offsets the expense of bills generated from a master meter, maintenance and improvements for well water systems, lagoon, or septic systems. Submetering is legally allowable in most states and municipalities, but owners should consult a Utility Management Vendor for assistance with local and state compliance and regulations.
Typical users of submetering are mobile home parks, apartment communities, condominium communities, townhouse communities, student housing communities, and commercial plazas. Usually, utility submetering is placed in situations where 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.
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 via allocation methods often called, RUBS (Ratio Utility Billing System) or some other means. Without a meter to measure individual usage, there is less incentive to identify building inefficiencies, since the other tenants or landlord may pay all or part of those costs. Submetering creates awareness of water and Energy conservation because landlords and tenants are equally aware of what they will pay for these inefficiencies if they are not attended to. 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.