What is Submetering?

Multi-family communities are quite often supplied a utility through one or several meters provided by the utility supplier. In apartments, annual utility costs are estimated and factored into to rent. For condominiums, these costs are also estimated as part of an annual budgetary process and incorporated in monthly fees. What happens if the utility raises rates, or if consumption is greater than anticipated? The answer is lost revenue.

Submetering is the installation of individual meters in each of a community’s residences for the purpose of measuring consumption. The cost of usage is passed directly to the consumer on a monthly utility bill. Because consumers pays for what they use, there is a natural inclination to conserve. With respect to water, consumption has been statistically proven to drop by 20-40%.

How is a submetering system installed? Using water meters as an example, the water supply line for each unit is located. A meter is installed on each unit supply line. A radio frequency transmitter is attached to the meter. Repeaters are installed at several locations in the community. Finally, a receiving/ collection system is setup at one location in the property, usually the property office. The transmitters record the consumption from each meter, and sends that information to a repeater. The repeater forwards it to the collection system. Finally, a billing company is able to retrieve the meter data over the internet or a cellular connection, and uses it to create billing charges.

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