Welcome to Meter Confessional, tales from Private Metering.
What is Private Metering
For most people your utility bill comes from a regulated public utility company, but for a small, but ever increasing, segment of the renting (or owner for condo’s and other multi-tenant buildings) population some or all of your utilities may be “master metered” by the public utility then “sub-metered” by the property owner/manager or condo association. The public utility will then send a bill for the usage for the entire property or building to the owner/manager/coa so you the tenant/condo owner never get a bill from the actual utility company. owner/manager/coa will use the usage data from the submeters (which are owned by the owner/manager/coa not the utility company) to create a bill for your share of the over all utility bill. In most jurisdictions it is illegal for the owner/manager/coa to profit from the sale of these utilities (which means they have to sell them at cost to you) doing otherwise means they have to form their own regulated utility company which none of them want to do.
Most properties will subcontract the management of their utility billing to a 3rd party billing service or remote billing service (some times also reffered to as a read bill collect service) (RBC). These companies charge a various fees to the property and end consumer for their services, these fees include metering reading fees, meter service fees, statement fees, customer service fees, payment processing feee, and more. It is a HUGE business with almost no regulation governing how they operate. There are hundreds of these companies nationwide, some large sending tens of thousands of bills out every month, some are very small sending out just a few bills a month.
Private metering has really taken off the last few years due to the increase in utility costs, combined with the public utilities in many area (especially water utilities) refusing the individually meter multi-tenant properties. In years passed the costs for these utilities where just folded in to the rent or condo fees this is no longer feasible so many properties are turning to submetering to bill their tenants for their actual usage.
Now for many people this can be a good thing. Sub metering encourages conservation, and when done properly can mean lower overall costs for the end consumer, unfortunately the sub metering market has attracted many people that are either ignorant in the proper way to do things or are outright frauds that pray on people. The goal of this site is to expose some of the industry practices that cause pain and hardship to consumers due to inaccurate billing of their utility usage, as well as to give the consumer the tools and knowledge needed to protest or challenge a billing error caused by these companies or their contractors
I have years of experience in the private metering industry and I am continually disgusted with the apathy and down right fraud that permeates the industry, I will show you how they do it, and what you can do to prevent it or fight it should be be victimized.
I will link to actual laws of many states, and explain in detail what they mean to you.
Feel free to contact me if you have your own stories, complaints, or information that would be helpful to others, I would love to add it to the site.