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How not to let your water run under a bridge.

Are you seeing lots of abbreviations and words used with regards to water billing? As a courtesy to our clients, we created this list to help you learn the Water Language.

E.P. Meter--entire premise meter. The DEP requires an entire premise meter for every building. Eventually, the DEP will only bill buildings according to the entire premise meter. There is one EP meter for every main water supply that enters a building. Most buildings have one main, but some buildings have two, if they are large or if they are corner buildings. There are other exceptions.

I-Mon E.P. Meter--I-Mon status of an E.P. Meter.

The DEP is billing your property based on frontage. The DEP is planning on billing everyone on meter billing. The I-Mon meter was installed to give owners a chance to prepare for the cost of meter billing. In many cases, being billed on meter is better than being billed on frontage. A proper analysis of your building will help determine the best water rate.

Frontage--DEP used this form of billing for many years. This billing rate is based on water fixture counts, including the number of toilets, showers, baths, family apartments, size of front width of building and the number of stories. There are over 100 frontage codes.

If you are being billed frontage in a multi-use building it is necessary to have the commercial entities separately metered (use meters from the DEP approved meter list to enable you to participate in future cost-saving programs). It is best to use plumbers who are well trained in DEP's regulations who will file the proper paperwork and reduce errors.

MCP--multi-family conservation program.

The DEP is offering this cost-saving program to help buildings that are showing high consumption of water based on their I-Mon reads or active meter billings. If your "per apartment per year rate" is over $518, then you can make yourself eligible by adhering to the requirements set for this program. This is a means to help owners put a cap on high water consumption of tenants, as well as comply with the DEP's conservation goal. The eligibility for the program ends on December 31, 2005. (The DEP can always extend that date.) The requirements include installing low-flow toilets, faucets and showerheads and using low-flow washing machines. It makes sense to begin the application process as soon as possible as there are many steps to take to reach eligibility.

NR Meter--A meter that is not registering and giving actual reads.

Branch Meter--A branch meter is a DEP read meter that is read by the DEP.

In cases where a building is still on frontage and stores are metered properly, the commercial meters, while being read and billed by the DEE are called branch meters.

Sub-metering--A meter not being billed by the DEP.

When an entire premise meter is billed, the meters for the commercial entities are then considered submeters, meters that are no longer being read or billed by the DEE

Commercial Meters--Commercial meters cover stores, businesses and professional offices.

Owners tend to think that commercial meters are just for stores. A building is in violation if all commercial entities are not covered. Some stores utilize very little water and may not need to be metered.

AMR--Automatic meter reading technology.

Meters can now be read remotely in four different ways. The DEP only accepts two methods of AMR. Meters can be read by passing vehicle. Meters can be read by radio frequency, using meter read collection dishes on roofs of buildings.

Meters can be read by on-site meter readers who use a reading gun up against the DEP Remote Scan Pad placed on the outside of every building. This is the typical way for DEP to collect reads. This method causes lots of billing mistakes. Con Ed is currently reading water meters utilizing the Remote Scan Pad.

Meters are read via modern. To date, the DEP has approved one AMR system to be installed to read meters. It has proven to be an excellent method to capture actual reads from the entire premise meter to the submeters. The use of AMR has cut down billing errors, as well as helped owners control their water consumption. The DEP offers a $500 rebate for owners who install AMR. This is the second acceptable way the DEP uses AMR.

Actual Reads--This is supposed to mean a real read, a good read.

Unfortunately the term actual as used on a bill isn't always actual, causing errors on water bills. Without properly looking at the sequence of reads an owner will not know if the actual read that you are billed on is truly actual. In other words, don't assume your bill is correct just because it states that it based on an actual read. Confusing, isn't it?

Estimated Bill--When the DEP can't get to the meter to get an actual read, the estimate read is used as a projected bill amount.

If you receive two estimated bills in a row, there is a good chance that you are not in a meter reading cycle with the DEE This is when AMR is extremely useful. AMR will collect the reads and report this to the DEP for billing purposes.

You must be watchful of estimated billing. An estimated bill can generate over-billing, which means the DEP is saying you consumed more water than was actually consumed. Therefore, you are paying more for water that wasn't consumed.

An estimated bill that is under-billed sure looks great to the owner, but it isn't. The DEP will catch up with you eventually and bill you for four years in one lump sum. Many times a billing error occurs when they calculate your catch-up bill. You don't want to be under-billed, contrary to common belief that you've pulled one over on the DEE Just ask the many people who lost their properties to the tax lien sale if under-billing is worth the headache of getting one large bill.

HCF--Hundred cubic feet.

The DEP bills according to HCF. For 2004/2005, the DEP bills the water side of the bill based on $1.60 per HCF and $2.54 based on the sewer side. The combined cost of water and sewer is $4.14 per every HCF.

A meter can come in one cubic foot, 10 cubic feet, 100 cubic feet or 1000 cubic feet per revolution. In order to calculate properly, it is important to know the cubic measurement of the meter installed for your meters.

Average Daily Use--The amount of water consumption daily.

DEP bills that are billing meters will indicate the amount of water that is consumed daily. If followed monthto-month (based on true actual reads), the numbers can help you determine how much water is being consumed in your building per month. Particular attention should be paid to any major increase in this calculation. The dollar amount will also reflect an increase in use. It is a good idea to chart this information to properly follow consumption and billing. (AMR will do this for you on the detailed report that is sent monthly.)
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:INSIDER'S OUTLOOK
Author:Ginsberg, Debbie
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 20, 2005
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