Sharing smart utility wisdom
Sharing smart utility wisdom
Clean Cut Energy’s engineering team works with local condominiums to help them identify and resolve utility issues they may encounter. In the Summer of 2020, we were contacted by a client who notified us that their Condominium experienced a significant and unexpected fixed water cost increase. This increase was applied to their water account with no notice from the City. We reviewed copies of the new invoices and we can confirm that the water cost increase shown below is correct.
An in-depth investigation by our office found that a seemingly insignificant change made by City Council in 2012 is now having significant financial consequences for some existing Condominiums in the City of Cambridge.
In 2012 the City of Cambridge made the following policy change:
“That the alternative billing structure for Fireline Meters effective January 1, 2012 previously approved on Dec 5, 2011 be replaced with:
To summarize the above text, the city historically has provided Condominiums with a special rate for their fireline water meters (which typically only see water use during an actual fire). Most new Condominiums (newer than 10 years) are likely already charged at the current commercial rate based on their water meter size. But many older Condos had a grandfathered rate that will expire when their fireline water meter is replaced. The size of the increase will depend on the size of the water meter installed in your property.
Clean Cut Energy is now working with a number of Condominium Corporations in the City that have incurred this significant rate increase after meter replacement. Many more may be subject to this change in the next few years as their water meters reach replacement age.
Condominiums often set operating budgets that are intended to last for the entire fiscal year. Unexpected cost increase can significantly impact budgets. We hope this information will help affected Condominiums to plan for this increase.
Property management best practices include using a sub-metering system. Without a sub-metering system in place, it’s difficult for managers to make informed decisions about resource-related problems. These problems can repeat themselves and will have to be addressed separately on each occasion.
For instance, with a single water meter in a large multi-unit complex, there is no way to distinguish between an infrastructure leak or a leak inside a unit. The leak could be situated between the main meter and the separate unit, or within a specific unit. There is no way to figure out who is responsible for dealing with the problem. A sub-metering system will allow you to tell if the leak is within the domain of the property manager, or something that one of the residents needs to fix.
A great example comes from a townhouse complex in Guelph. This complex didn’t realize they had a massive leak in their building until they installed a sub-metering system. They were then able to go out, find and plug all the leaks successfully.
Studies of the complex revealed that the student units used much more water on a monthly basis than the owner occupied units, but every unit was being billed the same amount in their condominium fees. This was a very unfair arrangement. Property management best practices include switching to a sub-metered system, the complex was able to bill each residents only the fair amount for their water usage and the board watched the water use of the entire complex drop by 25%.
Whether they are leaks or residents that are using more than their share. Some property managers may think: I can find what’s causing this problem and deal with it. But often this process is more difficult than anticipated and you’re going to have to repeat it every time a new issue arises. This is why sub-metering is a best practice for property managers: it proactively tackles problems with your complex and creates a satisfied community of residents.
We are pleased to announce the launch of our brand new website! After months of hard work and dedication, we are delighted to officially launch the Clean Cut Energy site into the universe!
Our goal with the new site is to provide visitors an easier way to learn about Clean Cut Energy’s services and solutions. The new website is interactive and gives better access to information targeted to our various clientle. Useful information about our services can be found on industry specific pages ie. Developer, Building Owner, Property Manager, Condo Owner or Municipality. The Case Studies (developer case study, building owner case study, property manager case study, and condo owner case study) highlight the projects we have completed and outline the value created for each client as a result.
Through our new site we hope to foster improved communication with current and prospective clients. Our blog content will include useful information, articles, company announcements and client successes.
We hope you find the new site easy to use and simple to access information applicable to you.
For any questions, suggestions, feedback or comments, please E-mail us.
The Clean Cut Energy Team
Office (226) 780-0284
Fax (226) 780-0285
Email info -at- cleancutenergy -dot- ca
PO Box 25008, 17-370 Stone Road
Guelph, ON, N1G 4T4