September 19, 2023
4 Signs Your Utility Submeters Need Repair to Maximize Cost Recovery
Installing utility submeters is the best way to fully recover utility costs, but only if the submeters are working as intended. In this blog, we cover four common signs that can indicate issues with your submeters (and hurt your cost recovery efforts).
If your apartment complex or multifamily property has submeters, you know how central they are to your utility cost recovery each month. You can not only bill back residents completely every month but also get detailed insights into usage trends and potential leaks, helping you get ahead of any problems before they cost you.
To maximize your cost recovery with utility submeters, though, you need to make sure your submeters are always in good working order. Here are four signs of a broken submeter – then what to do about it.
4 Signs Your Multifamily Utility Submeters Need Repair
Sign #1: Inconsistent communication or inaccurate reads
One of the most obvious signs something could be wrong with your submeters is when the meter stops communicating or communicates inconsistently. You also might be getting usage readings that don’t make sense based on historical data (for example, wildly inflated usage).
If it’s inconsistent or inaccurate enough for you to raise your eyebrow, then there’s likely something wrong with your submeters.
Sign #2: No movement or change on the meter
Older electrical submeters have a part that is constantly in motion as it reads electrical consumption. Newer digital submeters have a digital counter that is always going up. This same movement principle works for water and gas submeters.
Take time to examine your submeters. If you notice meters that aren’t changing over time or showing visible signs of movement, you know that something is wrong with them.
Sign #3: An increase in tenant questions or complaints
Are you getting a lot of resident questions or complaints? Does something always seem to be wrong with your utility bills?
This could point to an issue with your submeters.
Nobody likes to receive a bill, but it is possible to create a positive billing experience. Residents who receive bills in a predictable cadence with accurate, itemized usage generally pay those bills on time and in full, no questions asked.
However, if submeters start to break down, you may end up billing residents for more than they actually used. Your residents will notice and start asking questions, which is a sign that you should look into the health of your submeters.
Sign #4: The numbers don’t add up
Problems with submeters will eventually lead to problems with your utility billing system.
Utility billing is like accounting or bookkeeping: Money going in should match the money going out.
Ideally, each month, consumption data from all your submeters should match the consumption from your property’s master meter. If those figures don’t add up, you know you have a problem with some of your submeters.
How to Repair Broken Utility Submeters
Without the proper technical training, it’s not recommended for landlords and property owners to maintain and troubleshoot a submetering system without the help of a licensed professional. This is because it can lead to even more damage, further unrecovered utility costs and a more expensive repair job when you do call a professional.
If you start to notice problems with your submeters, you should either call the company that installed them or the manufacturer. They should be able to help you with your immediate problem.
Conclusion: Prevent Submetering Issues by Working with an Expert Utility Billing Provider
Managing a submetering system in-house can be a major challenge. Without the proper domain expertise, in-house teams alone may not be able to do everything necessary to fully optimize your utility billing system for cost recovery while maintaining your submeters.
The good news is an expert utility billing provider can help. Working with an outsourced expert can help you get your submetering system back up and running.
Even better, they can help you manage and optimize your system, so you don’t have to spend valuable time worrying about it. Instead, get back to core tasks that help drive revenue for your property.
Noticing problems with your submeters? The experts at Synergy are happy to help. We can diagnose the issues and provide ways to fix the problems, to ensure consistent utility cost recovery.