Prepaid Electricity Sub-meters: 8 Common Questions Answered

What are the benefits of installing a prepaid electricity sub-meter? What is a sub-meter?

If you have ever wondered what a prepaid electricity sub-meter is or why you might want to install one then keep reading. We’ve gathered together some of the most commonly asked questions regarding prepaid electricity sub-meters in the hopes of shedding some light on the subject.

1. What is a prepaid electricity sub-meter?

A prepaid electricity sub-meter or private prepaid meter is installed to measure a portion of utility consumption. A sub-meter cannot replace the main council meter, which records total utility consumption on a property.

A prepaid electricity sub-meter is best suited to properties where there are multiple dwellings. So for example a property that has one or more granny flats or complexes that have multiple units can have sub-meters installed to measure individual electricity usage. The tenant then pays upfront for their electricity using prepaid vouchers.

2. Are electricity sub-meters legal?

Yes, sub-meters are legal. However, they cannot replace a property’s main meter. Trying to replace the Council/Eskom meter is illegal.

It is important that landlords do not overcharge tenants and that they adhere to the below electricity regulations so that their sub-meters remain legal.

South African Electricity Regulation Act 4 of 2006

South African Rental Housing Act 50 of 1999

Prepaid Electricity Sub-meters: 7 Common Questions Answered

3. What are the benefits of installing an electric sub-meter?

The biggest benefit of a prepaid electricity sub-meter for properties with multiple dwellings is the fact that each dwelling’s electricity usage can be measured independently.

This means that if one tenant uses a lot more electricity than the others, the other tenants will not be subsidizing their usage. Each tenant will know exactly how much they use and they cannot argue they are paying other tenants bills.

Another big benefit is that the tenant has paid for his consumption in advance of use. In that way, the tenant will not argue at the end of the month that they did not use that much electricity. The tenant will have control over their electricity spend and can budget accordingly. Meter readings, bills and chasing for money for utilities are avoided with this convenient system.

4. Do I need a prepaid sub-meter for my tenants?

If you are a landlord it is well worth installing a sub-meter. As mentioned above, a sub-meter makes billing so much easier as there is no more bill splitting calculations needed as tenants pay upfront for electricity.

Sub-meters reduce admin and headaches of utility bills and also mean that the risk of tenants not paying their electricity utilities is eliminated.

5. Should I ask my landlord to install an electricity sub-meter?

As a tenant, a prepaid electricity sub-meter can be quite beneficial. For one, knowing how much electricity you are using can give you more control over how you use it.

If you are a tenant on a property where there are multiple tenants a sub-meter will allow you to measure and pay for your electricity without you subsidising higher use tenants.

No more disputed electricity bills as your meter will measure only your consumption.

This also means you will not have any surprise electricity bills at month-end.

6. How much does it cost to purchase an electricity sub-meter?

The cost of electricity sub-meters varies quite a bit. This is because different meters have different features and quality levels. Sub-meters can range from a few hundred rands to a few thousand rands. There may also be delivery costs if you are ordering just a prepaid meter.

It is important to discuss your needs as well as your property type with a professional metering company before purchasing a meter on your own.

Sub-meters also have to be installed by a qualified electrician who works with sub-meters.

7. How much does it cost to install a sub-meter?

Installation costs of sub-meters will also vary a lot. Metering companies and electricians all have their own rates. 

We have simplified the process of both purchasing a prepaid meter and having it installed as we do both. We offer a wide range of sub-meters for all property and usage types and we offer professional installation in Gauteng.

If you are a landlord or a tenant, our prepaid meter special may be exactly what you need. High quality yet affordable prepaid electricity meter complete with installation.

8. How important is it when deciding on the prepaid metering company to use?

This is a very important decision.  It is wise to realise that initial price should not be the only determining factor. Some companies may be cheaper but generally, they find some other way of making their loss (contract fees/higher management fees) or try to hide some fees involved in the running/purchasing of the meters.

Ensure you understand all the Ts and Cs and charges with each company as you are not just paying for an installation, there is a long relationship that comes after the installation. We have clients who have installed their meters over 10 years ago and their meters are still in use to this day. You may pay a bit less upfront but in the long run, you may be unhappy with their undisclosed charges/service.

Our company prides itself on being transparent.

About JKNV Prepaid Electricity Meters

JKNV Energy is a well-established supplier and installer of prepaid electricity and water meters. We have a long track record of professional prepaid meter installations and many happy customers.

Get in touch with us today for all your prepaid sub-metering installation needs.

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