The key to effective utility billing
Tenants, aware of the direct impact of their consumption on their wallets, are more likely to adopt energy-saving practices. How can property owners bill their tenants for energy use, and what options are available to help streamline the process for accurate data collection?
As a landlord, efficiently managing utility costs is crucial for maintaining your property’s financial health. One aspect often overlooked but with significant potential for improvement is utility billing – especially in the current financial climate.
We’re approaching a winter that, once again, risks being an expensive one when it comes to energy. In times like this, every kilowatt-hour matters, both for property owners and tenants. Utility billing lets property owners accurately allocate energy expenses, ensuring that each tenant bears their fair share of the increased costs. This transparency not only promotes a sense of equity among tenants but also encourages energy conservation. Tenants, aware of the direct impact of their consumption on their wallets, are more likely to adopt energy-saving practices, ultimately leading to reduced overall energy use.
So how do you implement fair utility billing?
Square footage estimates VS. Sub-metering
When it comes to billing tenants for their utility consumption, there are two primary approaches: using square footage estimates or billing with a sub-meter.
Calculating square footage estimates
In the absence of sub-meters, landlords often resort to dividing the total energy bill among tenants based on the square footage of their rented space. While this method works, it’s far from efficient, especially when aiming to promote energy conservation. Billing tenants based on the building’s total energy consumption can lead to inaccuracies and disputes.
Utility billing with sub-meters
Sub-meters, on the other hand, offer a more precise solution. When these meters are installed at each tenant’s location, landlords are able to charge tenants for their actual energy consumption during the billing period. This eliminates the need for manual estimations and ensures accurate billing – and lets each tenant take control of their own energy cost.
Detailed metering is, of course, something we at Metry are biassed towards. So if you’ve not yet boarded the sub-metering train (or the sub-way?) – let us try to sway your opinion by mentioning the sustainability perks and financial gains you as a property owner can enjoy!
Return on investment when installing sub-metering
Detailed energy data is invaluable for ESG reporting and sustainability certifications like GRESB, LEED, and BREEAM, and for satisfying the demands of banks and investors who increasingly require comprehensive energy reporting. So if you’re concerned about the cost of installing the sub-meters needed to bill your tenants, consider the long-term benefits.
While sub-meter installation comes with an upfront cost, it can be quickly recouped through energy savings; some models suggest that every reduction of one unit in net operating income increases a building’s value by twenty units – a pretty substantial increase. Reduced energy consumption not only adds value to your property but also enhances your brand’s reputation, making it easier to secure financing.
So, the additional layer of data provided by sub-metering can be invaluable for energy efficiency, reporting, and financing.
Do we have your attention? Good!
…but, to reap these benefits, you of course need to work with the data your sub-meters generate.
Put your sub-metering data to use – accessing data from smart meters
So you have installed your sub-meters and they have started generating data. Now, the real challenge comes into play; how do you access it and manage it?
There are two common ways of keeping track of your data:
- Use spreadsheets: Manually entering readings from your meters in spreadsheets can be a simple way to track energy use and utility expenses, but they may not be the most efficient for large-scale and accurate data management.
- Use a data collection system: With an energy data collection system, you can collect meter readings automatically, and get the data presented in a user-friendly portal. It reduces the risk of human errors and saves your organisation from time-consuming manual work – making it a streamlined and secure process. And this is what Metry can help you with.
Elevate your tenant experience
With Metry, it’s easy to keep your billing real and data shared. We collect data from your metering systems, regardless of brands, run it through our automated quality assurance, and connect it to your finance system. Our API also opens possibilities to present your tenants’ individual consumption in tenant portals, apps, or digital building twins. When you collect energy data from your sub-meters with Metry, you have easy access to the data needed to charge your tenants for their actual electricity, gas and water use.
And remember the sustainability perks and financial gains we mentioned before? Yep, the data you collect in Metry can help with that too.
With Metry, you’ll get all your energy data in one place – quality checked and structured, so it’s ready to be used for whatever you need. Talk to us if you want to know more!
Discover our data collection solutions
What data do you need?
Download the product brochure and find out how Metry can help you access your energy data.
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