One of the biggest headaches for most landlords and property owners is recovering monthly water and electricity costs from tenants; it can be quite challenging maintaining a good relationship with multiple tenants whilst keeping the lights and water on (and not be paying out of pocket). This is why most landlords and property owners turn to solutions such as Citiq Prepaid sub-meters. Not only are our prepaid meters easy to install in any type of building, but our prepaid vending solution is one of the most innovative on the market; solving many utility recovery problems.

A sub-meter (subsidiary meter) is a meter that allows tenants to purchase tokens as and when they need them. Providing peace of mind for tenant and landlord alike – taking the guesswork out of utility management.

How does it work?

The sub-meter is installed downstream from the main meter (also called the council meter) and does not replace the main meter (those supplied by Eskom or the Municipality) – this is illegal. It is fitted on the supply to the area that will be consuming its own electricity or water. Each area to be measured has its own sub-meter.

Sub-meters are suitable for a variety of setups, for example, backyard rentals, the renting out of granny flats, student accommodation, vacation rentals, business parks, apartment blocks, complexes and more. Sub-meters can measure electricity usage as well as water usage. 

The main council meter will record the total utility consumption for the entire property, while the sub-meter only records a portion of the consumption in the sub-metered area. This means that the sub-meters consumption is a part of that recorded by the council meter.

Why should landlords use prepaid sub-meters for their tenants?

Without a sub-meter, you as the landlord, property manager or body corporate would have one of two options:

Option 1: You will need to divide the total consumption for water and electricity as measured on the council meter by the number of tenants or square meterage per tenant. This is quite common in commercial setups but less common in residential setups (except for water). The downside is that it is not a fair or exact representation of each tenant’s usage, encourages waste and you may struggle to get payment from tenants.

Option 2: You can install a postpaid meter for postpaid billing purposes, however, this can invite a lot of tenant feedback or disputes of usage. This also comes with the usual invoicing admin and risk of non-payment but is at least as far as you can get without a sub-meter.

Your other option is to use a sub-meter:

Option 3: Install a water and/or electricity sub-meter and tenants can pay upfront for their utilities.

The use of sub-meters, such as those provided by Citiq Prepaid, has enabled landlords and property owners to more reliably and accurately manage their utilities and reduce the risks involved in providing their tenants with water and electricity utilities.

Please note: Citiq Prepaid meters are prepaid sub-meters and must always be installed downstream from Eskom/Council meters. We will provide information to authorities for criminal prosecution should anyone try to replace the main meter.