Re: Electricity metering [was: Dear Cohousing Community
From: Ken Winter (
Date: Mon, 11 Jan 2021 12:58:49 -0800 (PST)
A couple years ago, Sunward Cohousing installed a submetering system for
our *water* bills.  We're very happy with it:  It has solved equity
problems (our households, no matter how big or thirsty, *used *to pay
equally for the collective water usage), our consumption is down by
~20%, and the web-based meter system issues automatic alerts of potential
leaks and higher-than-expected consumption.

I've been meaning to write an article on this for or some
such medium, but I don't know how much interest there is from other coho
communities.  Maybe I'll use this occasion to test the waters.  Is anybody
reading this interested in knowing more about the whys, whats, and hows of

~ Ken Winter
~ Sunward Cohousing

On Mon, Jan 11, 2021 at 3:03 PM Sharon Villines via Cohousing-L <
cohousing-l [at]> wrote:

> > 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
> ----
> Sharon Villines
> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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