Re: Shared Utilities
From: Rowena Conkling (
Date: Sat, 29 Aug 1998 09:45:03 -0500
Cambridge Coho started off with the same plan: buy wholesale, 
individually meter each unit and charge for unit use and common 
house use through association fees.  However, our local building 
inspector (the 800 pound gorilla!) insisted that this was illegal and 
that we either had to have a single meter or separate service to each 
unit.  So, we now have 41 meters stacked in our basement and are still 
in the throes of figuring out how to divide up the costs. Right now, six 
months later, all costs are assigned based on square footage, and there 
is no question that we have a favorable rate because we wholesale it. 
This is important in a part of the coutry with the highest utility 
rates.  Meanwhile, the mathematicians, economists, computer experts and 
simply opinionated among us, are developing some kind of spread sheet 
which will supposedly produce a more equitable division.   They will 
then have to pursuade the sceptics among us to accept it!   Oh, the joys 
of moving in!

If people cannot be pursuaded of the equity of division we may have to 
install the meters down the line and fight the inspector. 

Interestingly enough there seems to be no corrolation between the desire 
for iondividual meters and the likelihood that the unit owner is being 
overcharged.  For instance, single people in relatively large units are 
presently being overcharged by the square footage system but are not 
among the strongest proponents of metering.  Go figure!

ecky Schaller wrote:
> We are looking at how to pay the utility bills in the most
> equitable and cost effective way.  Have other cohousing groups had
> shared utilites?  For example, the community has one master electric
> meter and private individual meters for each unit.   Individuals then
> pay for their utilities through the monthly association fees.

> Becky Schaller
> Sonora Cohousing in Tucson, AZ

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