utility power meter

Slowly but surely, people are starting to come back to the office. For most, the lockdowns of the spring turned into months of working exclusively from home. So, while commercial buildings may not be exactly buzzing with activity, there are signs of life. And, when there is life in commercial buildings, digital submeter readings will help manage expenses.

This pattern of rapid drop, extended trough, and slow recovery has wreaked havoc with expense expectations for both building owners and occupiers. Many were caught completely unprepared. Some– those with the ability to convert HVAC service to a fully on-demand model, for example — were able to tune their spaces temporarily to conserve energy consumption and save cost. But the question now is: What next?

Landlords and their tenants have a lot of negotiating to do as they look to 2021. Tenants on net leases need a high degree of trust in the expense numbers they see. Those on gross leases are sure to have plenty of questions about how landlords will handle reconciliations versus lease base years (especially if 2020 was the base year). When it comes to making these discussions productive, accurate information will be as foundational as mutual goodwill. Here is where Genea’s Submeter Billing solution can help.

Genea’s digital submeter readings allow for automated tracking and billing from the moment of data capture. The direct link to accounting eliminates clerical errors in billing. To maximize data quality, the app includes a real-time validation feature at the point of entry. Any readings that fall outside the expected normal range are immediately flagged, greatly reducing the risk of mis-keyed data.

How might this play out in practice? Imagine, for example, that a tenant expects lower expenses because fewer bodies in the space should have meant less strain on the HVAC system. (This would be the case especially in an on-demand HVAC model.) This may be perfectly true. However, the tenant may not have considered that its server room still required essentially the same amount of cooling even while the people were away. Thus, the savings may be far less than expected.

In this scenario, detailed submeter data clarifies the expense amount and suggests the reasons for it. Furthermore, it gives the tenant a chance to adjust its usage, if appropriate, to minimize future costs. The transparency helps bring all parties into alignment.

As an added bonus, Genea’s Submeter Billing product requires only a lightweight integration and takes very little time to implement. This makes it actionable almost immediately. Given the protracted process of reopening offices, this means its not too late for any commercial building to realize value. In the long run, deepening transparency and trust with tenants will pay dividends far beyond any short-term revenue recapture.

For more information on how you can elevate your building’s submeter reading and billing process, check out Genea’s Submeter Billing software. Our service helps prevent inaccurate reads being used to calculate tenant invoices. To learn more, request a demo below.

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