Energy Efficiency through In-Suite Metering

February 2015

The Energy Consumer Protection Act was passed in 2010. This required that all new condominiums have individual unit smart metering. This ensured that, in new condominiums, individual residents would be responsible for paying their own electricity bills.

This legislation was an attempt to reduce electricity usage in condominiums and apartments.

Bulk metering is the practice of having one bill for all electricity used within a building. Smart metering, which includes sub-metering, is when each suite in a building has an individual meter and pays for the electricity consumed in their unit. The condo building continues to pay for electricity used in common areas.

Savings from individual unit smart metering was anticipated to come from reduced electricity usage within individual suites. Those who choose to keep their suite warmer in winter, for example, would pay more than those who keep the temperature lower. Those who invest in energy efficient lighting would benefit from lower electricity costs. And those who transfer their electricity use to off-peak hours can pay less.

Condo buildings built prior to 2010 have the option of bulk metering – the status quo – or converting to individual unit metering. For those choosing not to convert, owners of condo units could continue to pay a fixed amount based on their estimated share of a building’s total electricity consumption.

Condo corporations interested in metering have two options. Working through sub-metering companies, a condo corporation can maintain their current rate structure. The condo corporation would to pay their Toronto Hydro bill. In-suite use would be billed and collected by a sub-metering company, then repaid to the condo corporation. Alternatively, working through Toronto Hydro, a condo corporation can migrate to smart metering and time-of-use billing. This would permanently divorce the condo corporation from responsibility for the in-suite portion of electricity use.

Identifying financial benefits from smart metering or sub-metering is difficult. This depends on in-suite usage and future rates. Both are unknown. The average reduction in electricity usage after implementation of smart metering is 22% according to a Toronto Hydro agent. Sub-metering companies advise that up to 70% of residents can save money through sub-metering.