Manage, measure and minimise. Say goodbye to unexpected utility bills
Tired of getting unexpected electricity bills? Get more control with prepaid metering
When you’re living in a multi-tenanted property it can be hard to find fair ways of paying for shared utilities. In fact, this is often one of the biggest headaches for most people, whether they are the landlord or the tenant. There is a lack of information and visibility that can affect trust on all sides and can often damage long-term relationships between landlords, tenants, managing agents and body corporates. What’s needed is a solution that’s easy to use, cost-effective to install and manage, and absolutely transparent. This will ensure that every person associated with a property has access to accurate utility usage from the start, and is something everyone should consider when looking to buy or rent a multi-dwelling complex.
“Disputes over electricity and water bills can be a major problem in the property sector and they cost everyone time and money,” says Citiq Prepaid Managing Director, Michael Franze. “The problem is that councils are usually only prepared to provide one electricity or water meter per property, no matter how many homes there are on that property. So, tenants, landlords and body corporates have very limited options and encounter some very tricky problems when it comes to charging for utilities.”
You can agree to split the bills pro rata but this often leads to overuse and conflict. You can install your own meter and read them every month, but these are often expensive to administer and control and sometimes tenants don’t trust the readings. In the case of electricity there is also the complexity that arises around the different resellers that have entered the market over the past few years. They have partially solved the problem, but there are some issues that remain unresolved.
“At first resellers appeared to be the perfect solution to inconsistent municipal billing and tenant non-payment and the sector saw plenty of growth,” explains Franze. “Then, many of the new entrants went out of business and regulations were tightened after a series of scandals. In the end, the property owner is still legally liable for the bills and using a reseller often just defers the problem.”
Enter the prepaid sub-metering solution. This not only reduces the risk for everyone, but it provides in-depth transparency into spend, usage, costs and more. If you’re a tenant, you can use the prepaid system to gain a clear picture into your electricity consumption and this makes it far more manageable and easier to budget for monthly expenses. If you only get your bills a month or more in arrears, it’s easy to forget that you’d left the heater on that cold winter’s day, so you end up wondering whether your landlord has overcharged you. The ability to monitor usage allows you to see your usage more clearly and this will help you budget more carefully. .
“For landlords, body corporates and managing agents, there are just as many benefits,” says Franze. “With Citiq Prepaid, we collect the money from the tenants and other end users at the outset and we keep these funds in a trust account. We only charge an 8.75% handling fee that is completely transparent, no hidden costs. By the third business day of the month, the money in the trust account is transferred to the landowner and they pay the municipal bill directly. This helps you stay in control of the billing relationship with your municipality without having any collection issues.”
This level of transparency and control is extended into the Citiq Prepaid online portal where electricity users and landlords can access a variety of different reports around usage, costs and payments. These reports can be emailed or accessed through an online dashboard that’s easy for anyone to check in on spend or usage and manage their expectations accordingly.
“Complicated information is a source of disputes, so we have put a lot of effort into ensuring that our reports are easy to understand, for everyone,” adds Franze. “Tenants can see their payment history and landowners can see the information relevant to their various properties and quickly identify discrepancies between the council bill and what tenants have spent. If there are any problems, our call centre is open seven days a week to ensure that you always keep the lights on and the challenges in check.”
Prepaid sub-metering puts control back into the hands of every person involved in a property. It allows for tenants, landlords, managing agents and body corporates to build transparent and open relationships with one another, minimising conflict and unexpected bills or expenses. It’s cost-effective, tightly controlled and allows for absolute visibility across the board.
About Citiq Prepaid
Started in 2010, Citiq Prepaid has become the biggest and fastest growing prepaid meter and utility vending system provider to landlords, body corporates and property managers, property developers, municipalities and electrical contractors. To date, it has sold 850 GWh of electricity (equivalent to 25 years of the output of one 4MWh power station) through hundreds of thousands of active meters across SA.
An ongoing pioneer in the prepaid sub-metering vending industry, Citiq Prepaid’s proprietary vending system enables property owners and landlords, as well as their tenants, to access detailed reports to efficiently track and manage electricity and water consumption. This helps eliminate unexpected costs, quickly resolve disputes, and take the hassle out of payments, so utilities can stay on.