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A $700,000 Submeter Mistake

What is your submeter actually measuring?

By Tracy Chelepis, Founder & CEO

You’ve moved into an upscale office park with all the perks and amenities that a successful business should enjoy. As invoices start to come in, you realize that your first electricity bill from the landlord is significantly higher than what you expected. What’s the reason for the discrepancy?

Sometimes the cause is a simple mistake made by the utility provider. That is, it could be that the utility provider used the wrong kilowatt-hour rate. It’s also possible that the office equipment merely consumed more electricity than you had anticipated. Other times, however, the reason for such a discrepancy is more systemic in nature. For instance, it’s possible that the electricity meter is measuring usage on circuits that are not part of your premises.

Chelepis conducted an electricity usage audit and discovered that the lighting for the common area parking lot of the campus was being metered by our client’s (the tenant) submeter. Upon closer examination, we discovered that the electricity for the cafeteria refrigerators, the cooking equipment, and the security lighting were also running through our client’s submeter. Once we concluded the audit, Chelepis presented the facts to the landlord and recovered $700,000 for our client regarding this issue.

Even reputable landlords with experienced engineering staff can, on occasion, improperly install submeters. If your submetered electricity bills appear too high, call us to examine your utility usage and conduct a walk through inspection.

About Chelepis

Our success is based on knowledge of how each occupancy dollar is consumed, calculated, and billed. We offer real estate industry experience from an operations, accounting, and engineering viewpoint; proven experience not offered by any other firm in the industry.


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