Submeters Help Avoid Increased Maintenance Fees

Submeters Help Avoid Increased Maintenance Fees

Located a few blocks from Pittsburgh’s Carnegie-Mellon University, Park Plaza Condominiums, a nine-level mixed-use property, is home to various commercial offices including Park Plaza Condominium Associates, the building owner.

Problem

Pressured by rising costs, the property manager—Arnheim & Neely—was faced with raising monthly fees to offset the property’s $20,000 per month electric bill or find a way to allocate and bill each owner’s electrical usage to recover a significant percentage of the facility’s operational overhead. Seeking to work with the owners, some of whom had been in the building up to 30 years, Park Plaza Condominium Associates chose the latter option.

Solution

A&N estimated running additional power company metering to each of the building’s more than 120 units would be five or six times costlier than simply submetering each apartment, including all residential units, to isolate each owner’s electrical usage (kWh) behind the main utility meter.

Submetering turned out to be the ideal solution for this application and a great way to avoid the inherent unfairness of traditional ratio-based fees commonly used in the industry. Based on a simple cost-per-square-foot formula, ratio-based structures favor high-consumption users by unfairly saddling low-use consumers with shared costs beyond their control or ability to manage. Submeters prevent such inequities and eliminate disputes by providing proof of actual energy usage.

At this point, the electrical contracting firm, Scalise Industries, Lawrence, Pa., was called. As service manager of the electrical division, Phil Reiss was given the job of managing the project, finding a vendor and supervising the submetering installation. Based on prior experience with the E-Mon D-Mon submeters, Reiss worked out the details with his local distributor, Tony Rinehart of Scott Electric, and the local E-Mon rep, Jack Group.

Once the job got underway, the team of manufacturer’s rep, distributor and project manager functioned like a well-oiled machine. “Scott Electric didn’t have an order that size in stock,” Reiss explains. “However, the factory got us all the equipment in a very timely fashion. E-Mon’s tech support and Mr. Jack Group were a huge help.”

Click on this link for the rest of the article: Retrofit Magazine: Submeters Help Avoid Increased Maintenance Fees at a Pittsburgh Mixed-use Property

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