An electric sub meter provides an innovative and cost effective way for landlords who have subdivided houses, offices or factory buildings to:
- measure and control usage and
- in the case of prepaid electric sub meters collect payment for electricity use in each unit, room or section.
A family living in a single freehold residential house has no need for an electric sub meter unless as an extra earner they might be renting out a converted garage flatlet.
An electric sub meter, secondary meter or check meter as the name suggests is connected after the main energy supplier landlord meter and is typically used to measure the energy usage of tenants. Landlords find that energy suppliers are reluctant to install more than one meter per property and if they are, the costs very often are prohibitive, sometimes as much as £1000 or more. By comparison many electric sub-meters can be installed for under £100.
There are various types of electric sub meters for landlords:
- Coin pre-pay meters have been around for the best part of a century; they are easily understood but require landlords to regularly empty their coin boxes. Emlite is a popular brand. Tenants complain that it is hard to find a regular supply of pound coins. The tenant loads credit using coins and the meter allows this value of power to pass through before disconnecting the electricity.
- Check meters, these are cheap to buy. Emlite is a popular brand. They must be checked regularly by landlords to take consumption readings which they use to calculate usage and bill tenants for the electricity they have used.
- Card pre-pay meters distributed by SP Wales and others. These require the landlord to sell paper cards which tenants use to top up the meter with credit. Once the meter runs out of credit it will disconnect the electricity until the tenant buys a new card and uses this to load more credit. Landlords find that controlling the supply of unauthorised cards is hard.
- Encrypted token meters: Metro Prepaid is the leading supplier of encrypted token meters in the UK. The Metro Code tokens are very secure, there are no master tokens or physical packs of 10 blank tokens that could find their way into the wrong hands. Each token is created for a specific meter by our encrypted server, only at point of sale – for example when a tenant tops up at the local PayPoint grocer.
Electric sub meters should be Measuring Instruments Directive certified and carry the CE mark. In 2022 this will change to UKAS certification.