Electric Sub meters are inexpensive and can often be installed using much of the existing infrastructure and without running new supply cables to a property. Let me share some examples.
1. David Groom from Elec-Tech Electrical Services Ltd told me last week how he had saved one client £90,000 by installing electric sub meters. His project involved a small, privately owned industrial estate where the landlord had converted very large buildings into 20 sub-let mini-warehouse/ business units complete with electric roller shutter doors. A local utility had quoted £100,000 to install separate electric sub meters to each unit. The landlord turned to Elec-Tech for help and they will now install a fully pre-pay metered solution for just £10,000. “My landlord customer is delighted with the outcome we have achieved for him,” said David.
2. One of our Metro Prepaid customers, residential landlord Ms A, recently installed an electric sub meter for less than £100. Her power supplier had quoted an exorbitant sum to install a separate meter in her rental at. “It’s not just the cost – they were going to dig up half my driveway,” confided Ms A.
3. Cliff Neal from AC Electrical installs electric sub meters for a large Birmingham-based landlord. “We work mostly with 2.5mm and 4mm wiring for the HMO market,” says Cliff. This makes these meters really easy to install for HMO owners.
If your property has been correctly wired with each section on its own circuit, then installing a sub-meter is a relatively straightforward exercise.
Electric sub meters are installed into separate circuits and fed by the main supply.
When installing your sub meter remember to:
• Engage with a competent electrician to perform the work.
• Switch o the main circuit breaker before starting work.
• Buy a MID certified meter – phone ahead to check that your electrical wholesaler has meters in stock. If not, they will order them in for you.
• Install the sub-meter downstream of the utility meter.
• Include a consumer unit or isolator for each section.
• Connect live in and live out and neutral in and neutral outlook for a wiring diagram on the meter or included in the packaging.
• Double check that all the wiring connections are securely tightened.
• Replace the anti-tamper cover if your meter has one and secure this with a unique numbered seal. A good anti-tamper cover will be made out of clear material to ensure that wiring remains visible and is easily inspected.
• Remember not to attempt to open the anti-tamper cover once the power is restored.
• Register with your sub-metering pre-pay service provider.
• If you have installed a token meter such as those from Metro Prepaid that top-up through PayPoint, hand the tenant their meter card and they are set to enjoy the convenience of topping up online or at one of 29,000 PayPoint outlets.
The biggest potential cost is not the cost of the meter, or the hour or so it will take your electrician to install it, but rather the costs of ensuring each room or at is on its own separate circuit.
It’s a good idea to use the existing fittings and conduits as much as practical. I’ve borrowed and adapted the diagram below, which illustrates how this can be achieved, from HMO Daddy, Jim Haliburton’s book: 35
Money-making or Saving Tips for HMO Landlords.
It’s now time to install these new technologies that give tenants control over how much power they use and pay for. The plus for landlords is that you will never have to collect on another electric invoice again.
These are scary times. I have recently had more than one conversation about the merits of token meters in self-isolation scenarios. Some landlords are now wary of handling cash. Token meters offer the advantage of online top-up without leaving your home and without any human interaction. Metro’s call centre remains open 24/7 to offer support to installers, landlords and tenants.
Iain loves having conversations with landlords and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Metro Prepaid Support