FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

OUR METERS

Multi-unit complexes have a master meter to record the total water used.

A sub meter is an additional meter used to measure the water used in each individual apartment / unit / townhouse.

Private meters are installed on private property by the owner/s and used by them to apportion costs of measured water consumption according to ‘user pays’ rather than by some other method e.g. unit entitlement.

Private meters are owned and maintained by private individuals or their body corporates.

They empower people to make their water fair.

Yes. Our meters with their radio reading devices are Pattern Approved by the Australian National Measurement Institute for billing purposes (NMI 14/3/37). As per regulation they are then Verified on arrival in Australia.
Find out more about National Measurement Institute (NMI) requirements here.
Our ECO In-Line Meter, hot and cold ECO Measuring Capsules have WaterMark certification, with the ECO Valve Meter to follow shortly. 

Water service provider approval is not required for sub-meters that have been retro-fitted in existing properties, where the sub meters are not to be used for direct invoicing by the water service provider.
Your local authority’s “list of approved meters” applies only to meters that are owned, maintained and read by them, and so does not apply to private meters.

All work carried out in the installation of our sub meter complies with AS3500 and the state Plumbing and Wastewater Code.

Our meters and their remote reading devices are Pattern Approved and Verified. Find out more about National Measurement Institute (NMI) requirements here and WaterMark here.

BENEFITS

For whole complexes:
An individual water (sub) meter is installed at the isolator valve for each lot in order to capture the actual water usage. Additional meters can be installed to capture common water.

If your complex is not already bulk billed, your Body Corporate signs a new water charges agreement with your water provider to provide only a bulk bill to the Body Corporate. e.g. Scenario 1 in the Water Sub-Metering and Billing Arrangements For Community Titles Schemes Policy – Gold Coast City Council.

Service Charges continue to be invoiced to the unit owner by the water service provider. Any applicable subsidy or concession will be applied to this individual account.

Water Usage Charges for each unit are calculated from your private meter readings and invoiced to the unit owner via a billing agent. (e.g. Fair Water Bills or Meter2Cash Solutions). Landlords may recoup this amount from their tenants providing the relevant legislative criteria have been met. (See Water charging – Residential Tenancies Authority.)

Water usage charges for Common Areas (e.g. pool, carwash) are calculated as the difference between the bulk meter and the sum of the private meters. This amount can continue to be allocated by the Body Corporate via levies.
 
For landlords
If your complex implements individual metering, you can simply request that a copy of the invoice from your billing agent be forwarded to your property manager to recoup the measured water usage charges from your tenant.* 
 
If you complex has yet to become individually metered, you will still be invoiced by your water provider as you are now, but you can arrange for the invoice from your billing agent to be forwarded onto your property manager to recoup the measured water usage charges from your tenant.*
 
*Please see the guidelines for on-charging water usage for your state.
 
QLD

What are the minimum criteria for water charging?
Lessors are able to pass on the full water consumption charges to tenants if:

• the rental premises are individually metered (or water is delivered by vehicle), and
• the rental premises are water efficient, and
• the tenancy agreement states the tenant must pay for water consumption.
 
NSW

The minimum criteria for passing on water usage charges is:

• the rental premises must be individually metered (or water is delivered by vehicle, such as those with water tanks on rural properties), and
• the charges must not exceed the amount billed for water usage by the water supplier, and
• the rental premises must meet required ‘water efficiency’ standards.
Installing sub-meters in a complex is an advantage because:
    • You SAVE MONEY – as an owner occupier, you are assured that you are only being billed for the water you actually use. NO subsidising others through shared bills or paying for water while your unit is vacant.
    • LEAK DETECTION protects your property and your pocket
    • BE EMPOWERED – you can’t manage water use if you don’t know what it is!
    • ADD VALUE to your property

Installing sub-meters in a complex is an advantage because:

    • You SAVE MONEY – As an owner investor, the water usage component of your rates notice can be on-charged to the tenant if:
      • The rental property is individually metered; and
      • The rental property is ‘water efficient’; and
      • The tenancy agreement states the tenant must pay for water consumption.
    • LEAK DETECTION protects your property and your pocket
    • ADD VALUE to your property
    • TAX DEDUCTIBLE improvement

See also Question 5.

Yes. There is even more need for sub meters in commercial complexes. Just think of the huge difference in water used by businesses like laundromats, hairdressers and restaurants, compared to accountants, travel agents and retail outlets!

SWITCHING OVER TO USER-PAYS WATER

Individual meters are installed at the isolator or shut-off valve for your unit. This is the tap that turns off water to all outlets within your lot, excluding common water.
When installed inside your property, Body Corporate approval is not required.
When installed on common property, Body Corporate approval is required.
If, as a landlord you wish to install an individual meter within your lot boundary, it would be courteous to let your Body Corporate know. They may wish to consider individual metering for the whole complex.

  • Sub meters do not replace or interfere with the council / water provider’s bulk meter to a complex.
  • Sub meters simply give accurate information on the actual water used by each unit so that the bulk bill can be shared on a ‘user-pays’ basis instead of on an arbitrary basis (such as by size of unit, number of bedrooms or unit entitlement).

For Owner Occupiers:

  • Yes, provided we have expanded into your area, you can receive the bill for the measured water to pass on to your tenant.
  • In the meantime, landlords anywhere can have their meters read by their property managers during routine property inspections.
  • We currently service the coastal centres from Ballina to the Sunshine Coast. Check if we service your area, or sign up to know when we are in your neighbourhood.
 

For Owner Investors:

  • You can only benefit from individual ‘user-pays’ water bills if your whole complex installs water meters.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The schedule for meter readings is generally aligned with that of your water provider. 
 
Initial readings of you individual and bulk meter are taken immediately following installation, and then either monthly or quarterly as preferred.
 
We will liaise with your billing agent to ensure a smooth transition from the last of your shared bills to fairer, user-pays water bills.

Generally not, as water providers generally update their system as soon as the new water charges agreement is received or scheduled to takes effect. See question above.

There is no need for our meter readers to access your property. When our meter readers drive past, the wireless radio module fitted on your meter is “pinged” and it responds by sending your meter reading.

The radio module collects and processes pulses received from the measuring device and sends them to the remote reading system.

The radio module:

  • automatically saves your monthly water use for the past 12 months
  • records unusual usage / “alarm” notifications (for leaks / baseline flow, backflow, or tampering)

When the drive-by reader comes within range:

  • your radio module is ‘woken up’ by the remote reading system
  • it transmits your usage data and any “alarm” notifications (for leaks / baseline flow, back-flow, or tampering) to the remote reading system

The data is matched to your meter’s serial number in our system, and then used to generate your water bill.

This remote reading system is robust and reliable and has been used and trusted in Europe for 20 years.

Meter readings are sent to

  • our billing platform, or
  • to your nominated billing provider

to issue bills to unit owners.

If you have chosen a complete, end-to-end billing service then payments are made into a trust account before being transferred into the Body Corporate account to settle the bulk bill with your water provider.

If you have chosen to receive notational invoices only, then payments are made:
For Owner Investors (where just their lot is metered):

  • directly to the property manager (by the tenant)

For Owner Occupiers (where the whole complex is individually metered)

  • directly to the Body Corporate (by the owner)

If you have chosen a complete, end-to-end billing service then payments are made into a trust account before being transferred into the Body Corporate account to settle the bulk bill with your water provider.

If you have chosen to receive notational invoices only, then payments are made:
For Owner Investors (where just their lot is metered) – directly to the property manager (by the tenant).
For Owner Occupiers (where the whole complex is individually metered) – directly to the Body Corporate (by the owner).

ACCURACY, RELIABILITY & WARRANTY

All water meters are required to be verified or replaced every 8 years – which can be costly and a hassle.
Our ECO measuring capsule simply unscrews to be recycled – so its kinder on the planet and your pocket. When the time comes, we send you a reminder.

  • Fair Water Meters are triple tested for durability as well as accuracy – twice in Germany and samples from each batch is tested again upon arrival in Australia as part of mandatory verification.
  • Provided your meter has been installed as recommended, a fault is highly unlikely.
  • We are proud to introduce meters of this quality to Australia and customer satisfaction is very important to us. If you have a concern, please contact us directly.

Lifetime Warranty on the valve-meter base and in-line base.
8-Year Replacement Warranty on the measuring capsule and radio module.

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