Re: Electricity metering [was: Dear Cohousing Community
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 11 Jan 2021 12:02:40 -0800 (PST)
> Chris Roth - Communities Editor <editor [at]>

> At Lost Valley, each individual electric meter has … a  
> monthly charge (at least $10 apiece monthly, charged for each of the
> less-than-five-minute visits/readings by the power company person) has
> at times exceeded the actual additional electricity charge on some of
> those meters.— And even though we've talked
> about the desirability of reducing the number of meters to save costs,
> we've also talked about increasing it, as some people likely consume
> five or ten times as much electricity in their individual units (by
> keeping the heat cranked up, etc.) as others do

This is called sub-metering and is possible. I don’t know the costs but with a 
$10 charge for even reading meters, it sounds like it might be worth it. The 
complex then has one meter and there are sub-meters inside each unit (or some 
other convenient spot). The meters can be read from outside the unit using wifi 
or bluetooth or something.

If the minimum account charge is $30-40, many people will just be paying for 
having an account, not for each kwh unless they go over the minimum. And they 
may  not.

One intentional community (don’t remember which) put individual readers in the 
front hall of units where residents could see them. They had large faces like 
clocks and that dramatically reduced usage. 

People worry about one or more households being wasteful users or whatever, but 
when I think about each of our households, I don’t think any of them would be 
wasteful. Some have more people or are larger or are home more, so there would 
be a variation but you could charge per adult (regular residents, not 
occasional guests).

One of our residents had an electric bill of $8 a month when others were $80 a 
month. She worked long hours away from home, had a 615 SF south facing unit, 
didn’t use her dishwasher or her dryer, and controlled her thermostat. 

(Our single meter water bill has greatly increased with all the people working 
from home. The treasurer was asking about a leak somewhere until we realized 
what caused it.)

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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