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Mango
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Electric question - office/warehouse on a single meter

Disclaimer: this is actually related to my office, not my home, but I know there are some very knowledgeable people here who may be able to give me some advice.

I really want to lease a particular office. The bottom portion of the suite is a warehouse and I will lease the upper floor only. The problem is there's only one electric meter for both floors. The real estate agent wants me to pay 30% of the electric bill (based on square foot) but I have no way of knowing if 30% is a fair number, or will continue to be a fair number.

1) If my office has its own electrical panel, how easy would it be to install a meter for my office? Approximately how much would this cost? Is this a likely scenario?

2) If the office doesn't have its own panel, how easy/possible would it be to install a new panel and separate my circuits from the warehouse's, thereby making it possible to install another meter? Is this likely to cost $$$ or $$$$?

3) Any options I haven't thought of?

I realize these questions are impossible to answer precisely without looking at the suite but I would appreciate any general advice.

Thanks,
Mango


public

join:2002-01-19
Santa Clara, CA

1 recommendation

said by Mango:

I realize these questions are impossible to answer precisely without looking at the suite but I would appreciate any general advice.

Buy these, and have an electrician splice it into the office feed
»www.ebay.com/itm/240v-Electric-W···ceae1010

»www.ebay.com/itm/Landis-Gyr-Watt···d6f8ea46


nunya
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reply to Mango

While 30% might be in your favor, it might not. 50/50 chance there. Basing it on SF has to be one of the dumbest ways of splitting a bill I can think of, especially considering they are two different usages.
If the office has it's own panel (and it's single phase), it would be very simple to install something like an E-MON D-MON 1000. This would require no "re-routing" of the existing feeder cables.
If the service is 3-phase, then EMON also has some 3-phase meters available.
Since you are in Canada, it's hard to say price-wise. Here, I'd probably charge you $600-$1,000 to install a fairly simple sub-meter. That would be inclusive.

If there isn't a panel split off, it would probably be a costly endeavor to do so. It would probably entail at least a partial rewire of the building to get everybody separated. There is not way to even guess on an internet forum.

I would never lease a space which shared electric service with another tenant. It's just asking for problems. I would insist some sort of sub-meter be installed as part of the lease.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.


Mango
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Thanks to both of you for confirming my suspicions. $600-$1000 wouldn't be ideal but I think it'd be better than the alternative.


Zach1
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join:2006-11-26
NW Minnesota

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reply to Mango

Aside from metering, something else to consider is who is responsible for the bill from the utility? What is your recourse when the bill, for what ever reason, goes unpaid and service is interrupted? If the management company or property owner is taking care of paying the utility provider(s) directly, it would be unlikely for a problem to crop up. If the task ends up being the responsibility of the downstairs tenant things can go bad quickly.

BTW, +1 for the Emon submeters. Got lots of them out there and no problems in many years.
--
Zach



cdru
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Fort Wayne, IN
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said by Zach1:

Aside from metering, something else to consider is who is responsible for the bill from the utility? What is your recourse when the bill, for what ever reason, goes unpaid and service is interrupted? If the management company or property owner is taking care of paying the utility provider(s) directly, it would be unlikely for a problem to crop up. If the task ends up being the responsibility of the downstairs tenant things can go bad quickly.

There is insufficient evidence to know if these questions are applicable. He said that the real estate agent is asking him to pay for 30% of the bill. No where is it stated who pays the bill. If the agent pays the bill, then it's no different in the end then any lease where one or more of the utilities are pay by the landlord. If the landlord doesn't pay for the utility, then the lease would be materially breached presuming such a clause was included.

If the landlord wasn't paying, then it still could be written into the lease that if the utilities are shut off for no fault of the upstairs tenant, then the lease is terminated. The responsibility is then between the landlord and the downstairs tenant. Less than ideal, and you'd really need to work out the details if/when such an event occurs, but still doable.

Mango
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Unfortunately, they're applicable. The lease says only "The Tenant covenants with the Landlord that the Tenant shall pay for its electricity." That's it. There's a lot left to the imagination, and I don't like signing contracts like that :P

Now I'm waiting to hear back from people.


Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey

If you're paying for the electric, you should have your own account with the electric utility and your own electric meter.



cdru
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Fort Wayne, IN
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reply to Mango

said by Mango:

Unfortunately, they're applicable. The lease says only "The Tenant covenants with the Landlord that the Tenant shall pay for its electricity." That's it. There's a lot left to the imagination, and I don't like signing contracts like that :P

Is the upstairs space a sublease under the downstairs tenant? Or both to the true landlord but you're still stuck with 30% of the electricity?

It sounds almost like they are using a boilerplate rental contract without actually tailoring it to the specific situation. If you are responsible for paying "for it's electricity" then there should be a way to meter "it's electricity" usage.

Mango
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Both to the true landlord.

And yep, it appears to be a boilerplate rental contract.

Expand your moderator at work