This article was first published in the HMO magazine's 27th issue. (pictured below)
Prepaid metering for electricity has been used for the best part of a century, with reports suggesting that, at their peak, 1.5 million coin meters existed in the UK.
Measuring Instruments Directive (MID) compliant coin meters are available from companies like RDL (Meters), but many older coin meters are not MID compliant. The vulnerability of coin meters to damage (theft of coins) and the administrative burden they place on landlords are drawbacks, but coin meters have for decades offered tenants budgeting flexibility and a tool to optimise usage.
Some landlords address the need to control usage and collect payment for utilities with the use of check or kilowatt hour “kWh” meters. These are readable meters that typically require the landlord to take a monthly meter reading to check usage and deduct the month’s kWh usage from that of the prior month to calculate the amount to be recovered from the tenant.
Today’s encrypted token meters and SMART meters boast improved technology, better reporting, convenient token purchase options and emergency credit to make life easier when you forget to top up. The token meters supplied by Metro Prepaid effectively combine the benefits of coin, card and check or kilowatt hour meters into a single meter.
Prepay meters save money for everyone, reduce through usage optimisation environmental impacts, and offer a host of convenience benefits to tenants and landlords alike. These are my top 10 benefits:
1. A benefit to tenants that use fewer kilowatts of electricity.
The “eat all you can” model of bundling electricity costs in with the rental is imperfect, effectively penalising those tenants that conserve electricity - whilst others enjoy a free ride. Prepay coin, card, token and SMART submeters allow tenants to manage their costs and offer the choice of when, and how much, to top up.
2. Improve your property valuation.
Electric prepay submeters typically halve the electricity bill, effectively raising a property’s net income and once a capitalisation rate has been applied, its valuation.
3. Reduce property management costs and share the savings with your tenants.
Prepay submeters reduce administrative overheads - no need to take monthly check meter readings, raise invoices and reconcile post-paid debtors’ receipts. Cost savings can be passed on through lower rentals. Time saved can be re-deployed into higher yield property activities.
4. Eliminate petty cash.
Metro Prepaid meters remove the overhead associated with supplying coins and cards, monthly reading of check meters and managing petty cash.
5. Simplify accounting.
Comprehensive consolidated reports track monthly top-ups per meter, and a single monthly payment simplifies your bank reconciliations.
6. Convenient top-ups for tenants.
Tenants appreciate the opportunity to better manage their usage and the convenience of purchasing electricity tokens online or at any one of almost 30,000 PayPoint outlets.
7. More letting enquiries.
Tenants find coin meters inconvenient and distrust fixed recoveries and post-use check meters. They prefer properties offering prepay token and SMART meters.
8. Less risk of non-payment for landlords.
Prepay meters mean payment before use, doing away with debtors’ management and the risk of non- payment. Token encryption and SMART are more secure than many of the magstripe card meters in use.
9. Prepay submeters aid tenant budgeting.
‘Fixed monthly recovery electricity’ management gives tenants no budgeting flexibility. Prepay submeters help them to manage their costs.
10. Emergency credit.
Emergency credit is available if tenants forget to top up. Today’s modern technology prepay meters allow you to manage your property more easily from wherever you choose to be.