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The Upside To Automated Meter Reading For Property Managers

Property managers perform a range of duties throughout the day from handling tenant complaints to showing units and even arranging basic repairs and maintenance work. One of the ongoing duties of property managers in many apartments, manufactured home parks, and other types of multifamily dwellings are to manage utility bills and payments. A very effective way to eliminate this ongoing task is to switch the property from a traditional ratio billing system to individual submeters. The benefits of automated meter reading through these systems can really add up to time saved for tenant and property maintenance issues. Develop an Understanding of Usage Patterns With real-time automated meter reading systems in place, the property manager can develop a better understanding of typical water use patterns throughout the building. This is true for both residential and commercial properties, which can then be used as baseline data for setting water conservation goals or setting up programs for LEED-certified buildings to continue to meet requirements. Identify Atypical Water Use in Individual Units For apartments, condos, townhouses and manufactured home parks, the use of automated meter reading allows for quick detection of unusually high-water use. Automatic notices can be set up to flag atypical use to quickly detect leaks in occupied units or water use in units currently vacant. With this information, the property manager can make the necessary checks and correct the issue quickly. Avoid Billing Problems With Tenants With automated meters, tenant issues with meter reading services can be virtually eliminated. This is even more effective if the utility management company handles tenant billing and payment, allowing their services to handle questions through a secure website, freeing up the property manager. Top companies offering installation of smart meters as well as billing and payments also provide a secure login to their account for customers, allowing individual tenants to view past bills and...

Using Ratio Utility Billing

The use of RUBS or ratio utility billing system models can be effective in a wide range of different applications. This is a system where billing for a utility, typically water, is based on the square footage, occupancy, number of rooms or some other type of standard measurement throughout the building. These systems work on the premise that as occupancy or square footage increases, the amount of a given utility will also increase. Of course, it is possible to have a very large apartment with only one-person occupancy, which is why these systems tend to use a combination of factors to develop the billing increments. Why Not Submeter? While it is highly desirable to solve the utility billing issue by installing submeters for each unit, this is not always practical. For example, in older apartments, condos or other types of multi-family dwellings or even in old commercial buildings, renovations may have occurred throughout years or decades. Over time, pipes have been added; pipes have been run off of different lines and all feed into the same unit, or perhaps multiple mains are feeding different areas of large space such as a commercial business. This creates a real problem for using submeters. There would need to a meter on each line coming into the unit, perhaps resulting in three or more meters for one apartment or office space. Not only is this cost prohibitive, but it would be difficult for the customer to manage, not to mention the property owner. The answer to this is to use a ratio utility billing system. It will be critical to implementing the ratio utility billing system correctly, avoiding any errors in billing for tenants that can create conflict between landlords and their previously happy occupants. It is also important to consider any state limitations as to how tenants can be billed using a...