19 Feb 2009

RUBing the Wrong Way

CL sent in this:
I recently got a letter from my apartment complex telling me they are switching from hot water sub-metering to a ratio-utility billing system [RUBS], and they will bill based on square footage of the apartment. From what I can tell, sub metering is superior because it gives people a financial incentive to use less water and is also useful in locating wastage (ie. leaks). The complex claims they are switching because of billing problems with the submetering method, but from what I can find it is just easier and more profitable for the management company to use the RUBS method.

I am trying to convince some of the other tenants to join me to protest this change
CL's analysis is spot-on. Tenants who face a flat fee based on apartment size have ZERO incentive to use less hot water. When they use more, overall water bills will go up, and the landlord will collect that money PLUS a "small" convenience fee to keep the profits rolling in.

The reason that the landlord wants to avoid submeters is the cost of installation (I am wondering about timing of this change. Is the landlord facing a meter upgrade fee?) as well as the accounting for bills that will vary by month to month.

Bottom Line: All-you-can-eat billing results in the MOST consumption and the LEAST equity (i.e., misers subsidize wasters). Fight this stupidity.