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. Continue reading