The UMCA maintains a commitment towards integrity and credible leadership and governance. Accordingly, these values drive decisions and actions by the board and association. In an effort to adhere to these ideals, the UMCA has developed a “Best Practices Guidelines” for member and industry guidance which consists of three segments: billing service provider guidelines, manufacturer standards, and a glossary of commonly used industry terminology.

The UMCA’s Best Practices have been used as a guide for suggested legislation as well as for self-enforcement standards by UMCA members. In addition, the guidelines have been referenced by members for regulatory agency correspondence and media inquiries to bolster industry credibility.

The association encourages regulatory agencies to avoid imposing jurisdiction on members of our industry who have committed to comply with these standards. The voluntary compliance concept helps companies avoid unwanted liability specifically in the absence of regulation and also helps the industry maintain a high level of integrity and credibility.

Billing Best Practice Guidelines


1.1.1 Rates

In the calculation of average rates, use the utility provider’s rate schedule or the property’s most recently available bill. When using the property’s bill, it is common to calculate the average rate by dividing the total consumption billed by the utility into the total costs after deducting all late charges, interest, or other penalties owed by the property. The common practice is to ensure the total amount billed to the end-users does not exceed what is billed by the provider. End-user usage billing cycles typically follow the provider’s billing cycles. It is important to always maintain records of master meter bills and rates for future inquiries.

1.1.2 Submetering

To determine the end-user’s utility costs, multiply the applicable rate by the end-user’s submetered measured usage.

1.1.3 Allocation Methods

Using RUBS to allocate utility charges can provide an alternative to submetering installation or repairs. In general, to determine the end-user’s utility costs, calculations should include one of the following factors: (i) actual occupancy, (ii) ratio occupancy factor, (iii) occupant bedroom factor, (iv) 50/50 square footage and occupancy, or (v) cold water capture, hot water allocation. When using a RUBS allocation method, it is best to deduct a specific percentage for pools, irrigation, and laundry rooms (if not directly metered) from the total utility costs before determining the average rate. It is especially important to make sure that the total amount billed to end-users does not exceed the total amount billed by the provider.

1.2 Lease Language

1.2.1 Full disclosure

Clients should ensure all billing methods and fees are fully disclosed and explained in the lease. Any changes to the lease agreement (pertaining to utility charges) should be signed in an addendum or pursuant to the original lease language.

1.2.2 Proper Notice

Encourage clients to give end-users sufficient written notice in accordance with the lease when changing billing methods or fees and detail all the changes and fees in the notice.

1.3 Fees

1.3.1 Administrative and Billing Fees

Administrative and billing fees should be “reasonable”. Any billing or administrative fee should be mutually agreed to in writing between client and end-user.

1.3.2 Late Fees and Billing Cycles

Late fees should be reasonable and mutually agreed to in writing between client and end-user. End-users should be given a reasonable amount of time to pay their bill each month. It is important to maintain a predictable schedule which allows end-users enough time to receive their statements and submit payment before the account becomes past due.

1.4 Estimated Billing

Each estimated bill should contain a statement indicating that the usage is estimated. Reasonable effort should be made to reconcile resident bills after issue has been resolved.

1.5 Back Billing

Be reasonable and allow repayment to cover the number of months back-billed.


1.1.1 Comply with Local and State Regulations

The regulations for billing vary by utility and location, so it is necessary to research the regulations governing an area prior to billing. Failure to comply with the stated regulations could expose both the Billing Service Provider and its Client to fines and penalties.

1.1.2 Compare Rates and Tariffs periodically

If regulation requires use of utility provider rates, it is necessary to compare utility provider rates and tariffs periodically. Some Utility Providers submit rate increases at scheduled intervals, while others do so sporadically and without notice. By periodically checking the Rates and Tariffs in use against those billed by the Utility Provider, the owner, client and/or Billing Service Provider minimizes the potential for incorrect billing and a loss of revenue.

1.1.3 Notice and Lease Language

If regulations require certain notice provisions and disclosure requirements for billing, it is necessary to promptly inform the Client of such requirements, provide document templates as necessary, and cross-check Clients’ existing lease language and notice documents to ensure compliance has been met. Client should be notified that it is ultimately their responsibility to ensure all lease language meets compliance requirements.


Certain areas require Billing Service Providers to register or obtain licensing and approvals with a regulatory agency and maintain such registrations and licenses in order to provide service to Clients within their jurisdiction. The proper licenses and registrations should be applied for prior to providing billing services and maintained while doing business in these particular regions.

1.1 Billing New Clients

When billing a new Client, communication is essential. One method of communication is to provide new Clients a pre-bill summary for review and approval of the first billing statement. Allowing the Client to see, in advance, the charges billed to each End-user will help them prepare for End-user questions and permit them to make adjustments if necessary.

1.2 Prompt Response to Customer Service

End-users will have questions regarding their accounts, and these inquiries will arrive through various channels, such as telephone, email or regular mail. As the Utility Management vendor, the Billing Service Provider must provide an effective means for responding to these inquires in a timely fashion.

1.3 Provide Accurate Reports

Billing Service Providers should anticipate requests to supply detailed reports reflecting payments, receivables, delinquencies, and other data from the Utility Management program. Clients may wish to receive these reports at different intervals and in various ways, including email, in writing, fax or regular mail.

1.4 Manage Client Turnover

It is a fact of business that client and/or property staff team members leave. Having a transition plan in place for turnover will allow the Billing Service Provider to continue serving the Client without disruption. Also, Billing Service Providers should consider providing self-paced education programs for Clients to use as they hire new staff.

1.5 Various Payment Methods

Billing Service Providers who are also responsible to collect End-user payments should provide a variety of payment methods (subject to an applicable convenience fee). Doing so permits End-users to pay in a manner that is comfortable for them while increasing the Utility expense recovered for the Client. The Billing Service Provider should make every reasonable effort to ensure compliance with applicable data security requirements.

1.6 Use Address Verification Software

The United States Postal Service (“USPS”) has licensed third-party vendors to use its database of addresses to create Address Verification Software. Billing Service Providers should obtain software from a USPS-certified vendor, to improve delivery and decrease the number of undeliverable bills.


1.1.1 Water Meters Jet Meters Defined

Water meters should be installed per the manufacturer’s recommended installation procedures. Typically, “jet style” meters should be installed in a horizontal position with the register facing up to ensure accurate measurement and maximum longevity. Typically, jet style meters are less expensive and are able to pass particulate matter with little or no damage to the meter. They are sensitive to installation orientation and are typically not as accurate as positive displacement meters at low flow rates. Jet style meters also include Point of Use (POU) meters. POU meters are used when there is no “single point of entry” of the water supply into a multifamily unit. Positive Displacement (PD) Meters Defined

Positive displacement meters can be installed in any orientation with little or no effect on meter accuracy or longevity. PD meters are generally very accurate at low to moderate flow rates typical of residential and small commercial users, and are common in sizes from 5/8" to 2" and are not sensitive to installation orientation. PD meters are usually more expensive than jet meters and are susceptible to clogging or damage if foreign matter is passed through them. Water Meter Guidelines, Standards, and Regulatory Requirements

Single jet meters fall under the guidelines of AWWA C712. Multijet meters fall under the guidelines of AWWA C708. Bronze PD meters fall under the guidelines of AWWA C700 Polymer (plastic) meters fall under the guidelines of AWWA C710 Also reference NIST Handbook 44 Section 3.36 as it applies to the practices of the California Division of Weights and Measures. Water Meter Materials

On January 4, 2011, President Obama signed legislation revising the definition for “lead-free” within the SDWA as it pertains to “pipe, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings, and fixtures”. Entitled the “Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act”, it includes changes effective January 4, 2014. These revisions will require that drinking water system products consist of no more than 0.25 percent weighted average lead content, based on a wetted surface area. The current requirements defining lead-free bronze water meters are (NSF/ANSI) Standard 61, Annex G (a standard that will be replaced by NSF/ANSI 372 in October 2013). NSF/ANSI Standard 61 limits the amount of chemical extraction, or “leaching”, of metals as part of its performance requirements. On July 2012, there was a reduction of the Total Allowable Concentration (TAC) of leached lead from 15 micrograms per liter to 5 micrograms per liter. This change is drafted as Annex F to NSF/ANSI Standard 61. Both California and Vermont adopted California’s AB 1953 which requires all bronze plumbing components to contain less than 0.25% lead. This means that they must comply with NSF61 Annex G (NSF/ANSI 372). Water Meter Approvals California

Any submeter installed in California must be approved by the California Division of Weights and Measures. Their test standards are based on NIST Handbook 44 and include not only accuracy standards but also marking/labeling and sealing provision requirements. You may search for
specific meters or devices that are state approved at: In addition to being on the State’s approved list, all meters must be shipped to the local county division of Weights and Measures for accuracy testing. County testing guidelines vary and may include the use of non-standard test equipment, non-standard procedures (test volumes and rates) and may or may not involve 100% testing. Submeters must also be “sealed” by a certified state sealer which may or may not be the county agent. The list of sealers can be found at: Massachusetts

Water meters installed in Massachusetts must be approved by the Massachusetts Plumbing Board. Approvals are based solely on the lead content of the meter and manufacturers must submit a form along with test results and a fee to get on the approved list. The approved list can be found at:

1.1.2 Gas Meters Gas Meters Defined

Gases are more difficult to measure than liquids, as measured volumes are highly affected by temperature and pressure. Gas submeters are typically diaphragm type (positive displacement) meters. They are very similar to residential gas meters with the exception that, since they are often installed indoors, they do not usually incorporate temperature compensation. Like residential meters they are typically installed after a pressure regulator and thus operate are relatively low pressures (inches of water) and thus also do not typically require and type of pressure compensation. Gas submeters are typically rated by CFH, or Cubic Feet per Hour, flow measurement. As a rule of thumb, a cubic foot of natural gas at standard temperature and pressure contains 1,000 BTU of energy. Thus, if one were to install a gas meter on a furnace that was rated for 400,000 BTU/Hr. one would size the meter as a 400 CFH meter. US residential submeters are typically rated at or near 200 CFH. Gas Meter Guidelines, Standards, and Regulatory Requirements

Gas meters fall under the guidelines of the American Gas Association, or AGA. Copies of detailed sections are available online. Reference AGAXZ0277 for displacement metering. Other standards include ANSI B109.1. Gas Meter Approvals California

Any submeter installed in California must be approved by the California Division of Weights and Measures. Their test standards are based on NIST Handbook 44 and include not only accuracy standards but also marking/labeling and sealing provision requirements. You may search for specific meters or devices at: In addition to being on the State’s approved list, all meters must be shipped to the local county division of Weights and Measures for accuracy testing. County testing guidelines vary and may include the use of non-standard test equipment, non-standard procedures (test volumes and rates) and may or may not involve 100% testing. Submeters must also be “sealed” by a certified state sealer which may or may not be the county agent. The list of sealers can be found at: Maryland

Gas submeters installed in Maryland must be approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission, reference:

1.1.3 Electric Meters Equipment Electric Meters Defined Socket Meters

Socket style meters are relatively rare in submetering but are the standard for municipal metering. In Submetering they are often read manually (visually) but pulse output devices do exist for electric socket meters Solid State Meters with “CTs”

The majority of electric submeters are installed as retrofits. As such, socket style meters are often not financially practical as the associated material and labor required is prohibitive. Solid state meters use Current Transformers (CTs) to inductively measure current and thus allow for the calculation of power in kilowatts (kW) and energy in kilowatt hours (kWh) where there is a single point of entry into the unit. Electric Meter Guidelines, Standards, and Regulatory Requirements

Meter accuracy is covered under ANSI C12.20. Other ANSI standards in C12.xx cover other aspects of the meter such as physical aspects. The ANSI accredited Standards Development Organization (SDO) for electricity metering includes members from IEEE, NEMA, NIST, UL, and other organizations as well as utility metering experts. Electric Meter Approvals California

Any submeter installed in California must be approved by the California Division of Weights and Measures. Their test standards are based on NIST Handbook 44 and include not only accuracy standards but also marking/labeling and sealing provision requirements. You may search for specific meters or devices at: In addition to being on the State’s approved list, all meters must be shipped to the local county division of Weights and Measures for accuracy testing. County testing guidelines vary and may include the use of non-standard test equipment, non-standard procedures (test volumes and rates) and may or may not involve 100% testing. Submeters must also be “sealed” by a certified state sealer which may or may not be the county agent. The list of sealers can be found at:

1.1.4 BTU Meters BTU Meters Defined BTU Meter Guidelines, Standards, and Regulatory Requirements BTU Meter Approvals

1.1.5 Timing Devices Timing Devices Guidelines, Standards, and Regulatory Requirements Timing Devices Approvals

1.2 AMR (Automatic and Semi-Automatic Meter Reading) and Associated Electronics
1.2.1 Touch Read Devices (Semi-Automatic) Touch Pads

With touch pad based AMR; a meter reader carries a handheld computer or data collection device with a wand or probe. The device automatically collects the readings from a meter by touching or placing the read probe in close proximity to a reading coil enclosed in the touchpad. When a button is pressed, the probe sends an interrogate signal to the touch module to collect the meter reading. The software in the device matches the serial number to one in the route database, and saves the meter reading for later downloading to a billing or data collection computer. Pin or Socket Pads

Pin or Socket Pads work similar to the Touch Pads except the meter is connected to a small socket that has pins for connecting a reading device. When the reading device is “plugged” into the socket it is able to transfer reading data similar to the Touch Pad.

1.2.2 Remote Counters

Remote Counters are designed to connect to meters that are not easily accessible for reading. These remote counters come in several different variations that may be dependent of certain types of meters. The devices are usually mounted in an easy to access area and are connected to the meter via a simple wire connection. As the meter register advances the meter reading is duplicated on the Remote Counter. The output is usually a display that mimics the meter register. Remote counters may be used as a means to manually read a meter for billing but can also be used to provide a visible read to the resident where the meter is out of reach.

1.2.3 BMS (Building Management Systems)

Building Management Systems are most commonly implemented in large projects with extensive mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. In addition to controlling the building's internal environment, BMS systems are sometimes linked to allow monitoring of utility meters and /or power usage with in the building or project. BMS is typically not found in multi-family buildings but are used extensively for commercial buildings.

1.2.4 PLC (Power Line Carrier)

PLC is a method where electronic data is transmitted over power lines back to the substation, then relayed to a central computer in the utility’s main office. In some systems, the meter reads may be fed directly to a central computer located in the building. PLC based systems would be considered a type of fixed network system—the network being the distribution network which the utility has built and maintains to deliver electric power. Such systems are primarily used for electric meter reading. Some providers have interfaced gas and water meters to feed into a PLC type system.

1.2.5 Radio Frequency (wireless)

Radio Frequency denotes devices that are attached to a utility meter and send collected data via a radio frequency to a collection device that is equipped with a receiver on the same frequency as the radio modules (Meter Reading Device). There are two types of radio systems currently being utilized for meter reading applications, FCC-approved for unlicensed use under Part 15 rules, and FCC Licensed radio devices. FCC Licensed Frequencies

Licensed frequencies usually have a higher power output than unlicensed frequencies and must be properly licensed through the FCC to be utilized. The FCC license must be applied for in advance of installation and deployment of the radio systems. The license process is usually coordinated by the manufacture to ensure that the FCC license is in place before product is shipped for installation. These types of systems are configured on a set fixed frequency to prevent interference on other devices or from being interfered with other radio devices. Failure to apply for and ensure a proper FCC license is in place before using these types of radio devices may result in fines for each device installed and operating without a proper license. Check with the manufacture for details on the radio system to verify if an FCC license or pother permits may be required. License Length

Some FCC license have a set expiration date that is required to be renewed after a period of time. The license life may vary for some radio systems. At the end of the license life it must be renewed if the radio system is still in service. License Renewal Process

The FCC will notify the License holder 6 months in advance of the pending renewal date for the existing license. This notification is done by letter from the FCC addressed to the license holder. The license must be renewed within the period designated or it will expire and the radio system will then be operating without proper FCC approval. FCC Approved, Unlicensed Frequencies under Part 15

Unlicensed frequencies are designed to be used without an FCC License and do not require prior approval before being deployed. Part 15 devices must be certified with the FCC as compliant to the Part 15 rules, which are designed to ensure that the devices will not cause interference on other devices or be interfered with by other radio devices. Examples of unlicensed frequencies are the 433 MHz, 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz bands.

2.0 Installation of AMR Systems; AMR Equipment Terminology and installation Guidelines
2.0.1 Data Logger

Data Loggers are devices designed to store the collected meter reading data when transmissions are received via radio signals (wireless). Data Loggers may also be known as, Data Collectors, submetering computers for Gateways. CMLS, RDLS, DCCs are just a few of the acronyms that describe the device designed for collection and storage of the meter reading data. Data Logger Installation Guidelines

Data Collection devices should be mounted in controlled environments unless manufacture guidelines allow for outdoor installation. Data Collection devices should be mounted at a height that allows for easy access for maintenance and service personnel. The power supply should be connected to an un-switched outlet, with all cabling securely fastened to the wall. If a phone line is required it should be connected to the data logger per the manufactures requirements to insure a proper connection. If the data logger is connected to a local network then the network cable should be securely fastened to prevent unintentional disconnection. In all cases the manufacture guidelines should be followed to insure proper operation and prevent any possibility of damage that may void any manufacture warranty. Wireless Receiver

The accompanying receiver (if separate from the Data Collector device) should be mounted securely at the optimal height designated by the manufacture guidelines and all cabling should be securely fastened to prevent accidental disconnection or tampering. The mounting location should be as far from non-related electrical equipment as possible. Receivers should be securely installed on an indoor wall in a normal environment. If the receiver is not designed specifically for outdoor installations, then a non-metallic, weatherproof enclosure must be used when mounting the receiver outdoors, and any holes in the weatherproof enclosure sealed with 100% silicone. The data collector device and receiver’s location should be documented so that it can be easily located for future maintenance. All wiring between the receiver and data logger should be kept as short as possible and properly secured. Repeaters

Most wireless AMR systems have repeaters and the acronym is identical in most cases across different types of systems. Repeaters are designed to extend the AMR system range by creating stations that repeat radio signals from transmitters that are too distant for the Data Logger to receive directly.

Repeaters may require a power source and most repeaters use a power adaptor for 12 VAC or 12 VDC power conversions. Check all AMR system installation instructions for correct power and adaptor requirements. Repeater installation requirements should be followed per the manufacture guidelines. Repeaters should be mounted away from non-related electrical equipment unless the manufacture guidelines allow such installations. Repeaters and their antennas should be mounted securely at the optimal height designated by the manufacture guidelines and all cabling should be securely fastened to prevent accidental disconnection or tampering. Antennas mounted outdoors may require the addition of proper grounding devices. For outdoor installation on devices not specifically designed for exterior installations, you should contact the manufacture for specific guidelines to properly protect the device from weather. Transmitters

Radio AMR systems use a radio transmitter that connects to the utility meter and collects meter reading data. This data is then sent via radio signal to the Data Collector directly or thru a repeater. These radio devices are designed to work under the FCC guidelines that the transmitters are licensed under and may require prior approval before installation. Check with the manufacture of the system for specific guidelines for use and license requirements. Most radio transmitters work utilizing batteries and have a calculated life span before the battery must be replaced. In cases were the radio device is weatherized for outdoor installations, the device may not allow battery replacement and may require replacement of the radio device after the battery has reached its end of life. Transmitter Installation Guidelines

Transmitters must be securely installed in a non-condensing, normal indoor operating environment so that it is not exposed to water or high humidity. Screws are preferred for mounting. If double-sided tape is used, it must be on a clean, smooth surface. All transmitter locations should be documented so that it can be easily located for future maintenance. For exterior use, transmitters must be designed with the proper weather protection or enclosed in a device that will protect it. Transmitter / Water Meter Connection

The meter should be installed so that the meter assembly can be accessed by approved personnel and the meter face is oriented such that it can be easily read. The meter must be installed using industry standard plumbing practices as well as meter manufacture guidelines and local codes that govern the placement of meters for access by the consumer. Cabling connecting the meter to the transmitter must also be installed in a manner that prevents water from traveling along cabling to the transmitter. A best practice is to mount the transmitter above the meter or create a drip loop with the wire that connects the transmitter and meter. For exterior connections wire connectors should have the correct protection for the environment. Pit set meters may require the use of “Grease Tubes” or similar devices designed to protect wires from moisture penetration caused by wicking of water up the wire jacket.

2.0.2 Device Sizing

Some devices may be required to be matched with the particular meter that is designed to read. In most cases only the meter resolution or pulse will be required.

2.0.3 Manufactures Guidelines

In all installations the manufactures installation guidelines must be followed to ensure proper installation and operating capabilities.

2.0.4 Federal, State and Local Codes

In all cases the installer must be familiar with and follow all codes as related to wiring and electrical requirements for AMR equipment.

2.0.5 Technician Procedures

To ensure that the AMR system is installed properly the installer should be completely familiar with the manufactures installation guidelines and requirements for the product being installed. Some guidelines however could be considered universal and followed prior to installation starting. Prior to Arriving Onsite

The installer should verify that the property has been notified in advance of the installation start date.

The installer should also notify the property management team in advance of the installation steps and the sequence of units to be installed first to last.

The installer should also verify that all materials shipped in advance of the installation have been received on site or have been accounted for.

The Installer should ensure before arriving in site that proper notification for entry in to private dwellings has been completed and that the notifications are in the sequence set for installation.

If the AMR system requires any of the following, the installer should verify that the required system connectivity sources are available.

  1. Internet Connectivity, and associated Ethernet access
  2. Power connectivity for Gateways, DCU’s and or Repeaters.
  3. Telephone Connectivity

The installer should review the manufactures guidelines and or requirements for these connectivity requirements. When Arriving On Site

Check in with the Property Manager and provide details of all persons who will be on site during the installation.

Verify that all Entry Notices have been sent out as requested and verify the order that the installation will start and finish.

Discuss with the Property Management Team the steps that the installers will be taking for installation of meters and tech.

Verify the Start and Finish times for the installation team.

Verify and locate ALL emergency shut off valves for all Utilities that are having meters installed.

Verify the persons and their contact information who should be contacted in case of an emergency. This information should be provided to all installation personnel.

Coordinate procedures for private dwelling access. Determine steps to get key access and entry to each unit.

Survey the property to verify the locations for installation of AMR system infrastructure. Include power source, and connectivity requirements.

Verify that all material and equipment needed for installation is present and accounted for and is correct.

Verify the operation of all submetering equipment, if possible, before leaving the site by on-site or remote connection (by another team member) to the data collector.

Collect the locations of all devices, as appropriate, for documentation to be used in future maintenance.

Glossary of Terms


The information contained herein is for the sole purpose of information and education. All information is subject to change without notice. The UMCA is not responsible for errors or damages of any kind resulting from use of the information contained therein. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information presented as factual; however, errors may exist. Users are directed to countercheck facts when considering their use in other applications.


ALLOCATION  -- See Utility Allocation

ALLOCATION TYPES -- The basis by which utility expenses are apportioned to users. Common types include unit count, occupant count, occupant ratio, square footage, and a combination of occupant count and square footage. Less common types include bathroom count and fixture count.

AMR  -- Automated Meter Reading. For a summary of the current types of AMR systems used in submetering.

ARM  -- Automated Remote Metering

BRONZE  -- A copper metal alloy used in the manufacture of water meters, usually characterized by high copper content by weight with alloying elements of tin, lead and zinc.

CAPS  -- Also called Billing Caps and Limits, these are arbitrary parameters the define maximum allowable bill amounts, generally set by property owners who desire to keep resident bills from exceeding a specified amount.

COMMON AREA DEDUCTION  -- The practice, in utility allocation, of accounting for common area utility usage and subtracting that usage from the master metered utility prior to allocation. See also “Pass Through Percentage.”

CONNECTIONS  -- Threaded couplings usually composed of three pieces (tail piece, nut and gasket) forming a pipe union on each end of a meter, allowing for easy replacement.

CUBIC FEET  -- See Units of Measure

DCU  -- Data Collection Unit; in an AMR system, the central device that collects usage data from meters. Also known as a Data Collection Device, Central Station, and other, similar variations.

ENCODER METER REGISTER ASSEMBLY  -- The encoder-type remote system component that converts a meter consumption reading and a register identification number into an electronic signal. This component consists of a meter register and signal (data) encoder assembly, assembled as either a single unit or as separate units, to be mounted on or near the meter.

ENCODER-TYPE REMOTE READING SYSTEM  -- A system in which a visual numerical meter reading or a recording of a meter reading in an electronic data-storage medium can be obtained semi-automatically at a location that is remote from the meter.

FIXED CHARGES  -- Part of a master metered or resident utility bill that is not affected by consumption.

FLAT RATES  -- An amount charged for utilities that have no direct correlation to the master metered utility bill, nor to actual consumption, and that typically does not vary from billing cycle to billing cycle.

FLUSHING   -- The cleaning of water lines after pipe installation, in general practice accomplished by high flow of water through the line to a drain.

GALLONS  -- See Units of Measure

HOT WATER RATIO  -- The practice of estimating a resident's total water usage based on actual hot water usage.

I.D.  -- Depending on usage, refers either to the inside bore of a pipe, or to a unique electronic code that identifies a specific meter within a system.

KILOWATT HOURS  -- See Units of Measure

LEAK INDICATOR  -- A part of a meter register that indicates any flow through the meter. Also called a Leak Detector.

LOW FLOW DETECTOR  -- See Leak Indicator

MASTER METERED   -- When a single meter measures utility usage for an entire property, or an entire building, which usually includes common areas.

METER  -- A device that measures utility usage.

METER REGISTER   -- Mechanical device (sometimes used synonymously with the term “face”) that uses a system of gear reductions to integrate the rotation of the moving element of a meter's measuring chamber into numerical units.

MIU  -- The Meter Interface Unit, a device that translates meter data prior to transmitting data to the receiver. Also known as a Telemetry Interface Unit.

MJ  --See Multi-jet Meter.

MULTI-JET METER  -- A water meter operating on the velocity principal of measurement, employing multiple inlet ports to a measuring chamber, for conditioning of flow before impinging upon an impeller. Specifications for MJ meters are found in AWWA Standard C-708.

PASS THROUGH PERCENTAGE  -- The amount of the master metered utility bill allocated to residents. Also see “Common Area Deduction.”

PD   --See Positive Displacement Meter

POINT-OF-USE METER   -- A meter that measures water flow at the actual usage point, such as a faucet or toilet.

POSITIVE DISPLACEMENT METER  -- A water meter of either a piston or disk design, where the measured water is directed into rotating pockets by a moving element characterized by very small leakage paths. Specifications for PD meters are found in AWWA Standard C-700.

PRESSURE TESTING  -- Subjecting a full water system to maximum normal pressure (or normal pressure plus a safety factor) against a closed downstream shut-off.

RECEIVER  -- In a Radio Frequency-based AMR system, the device that receives meter data transmissions for the central data collection device.

REPEATER  -- In a Radio Frequency-based AMR system, a device that receives and amplifies meter RF signals in order to transmit them to the Receiver.

RBC  -- An acronym that stands for Read, Bill and Collect.

RF   -- An acronym that stands for Radio Frequency.

RUBS  --Ensation factor to allocate utility costs among users, as well as for Resident Utility Billing System.

RUN TIME  -- A type of measurement used for the purpose of allocating energy usage, most commonly gas and electric used for HVAC systems.

SERVICE PROVIDER   -- Generally used to describe either a submetering/billing service provider, or a provider of utilities.

SINGLE JET METER  -- A water meter operating on the velocity principal of measurement that incorporates a single jet for direction of water directly against an impeller.

SUBMETERING  -- The practice of using meters to measure master-metered utility consumption by individual users.


TRANSMITTER  -- Radio Frequency system component that sends usage data from a meter to a receiver.

UTILITY  -- Used alternately to describe a provided natural resource, such as water, gas or electric, as well as for the provider of the resource (also see Service Provider).

UTILITY ALLOCATION  -- Determining resident charges for utilities by means of a formula rather than measured usage. See Allocation Types for descriptions.

WATER METER SIZE  -- Normally corresponds to the pipe bore, for example 1". For some models a second designation refers to the matching pipe end connections. For example, a 5/8" x 3/4" meter has a nominal 5/8" bore and 3/4" straight pipe threads.

WATERWORKS BRONZE  -- Refers to one of two generally accepted alloys, one with a nominal composition of 81% copper, 3% tin, 7% lead, and 9% zinc, or another alloy with a nominal composition of 85% copper, 5% each lead, tin and zinc.


Water   -- U.S. Gallons (nominally 231 cubic inches of water); Cubic Feet, one of which is equivalent to 7.48 gallons of water. U.S. Gallons is the most common water billing unit in the United States, with Cubic Feet also frequently used.

GAS   -- Therms, 1 of which equals 100 Cubic Feet.

ELECTRICITY   -- Kilowatt Hours, which represent the amount of energy delivered at a rate of 1000 watts over a period of one hour. The kilowatt hour is equivalent to 3.6 megajoules of energy.



organization that publishes industry specific product norms that meet a minimum set of requirements, developed and revised by industry associations representing users, manufacturers and interested third parties. For information, contact ANSI at: 25 West 43rd Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10026. Phone: 212-642-4900. FAX: 212-398-0023. Internet address:

AWWA  -- AMERICAN WATER WORKS ASSOCIATION. A trade association of drinking water professionals with members worldwide. For information, contact AWWA at: 6666 West Quincy Avenue, Denver, Colorado 80235. Phone: 303-794-7711. FAX: 303-347-0804. Internet

AWWA STANDARDS  -- Voluntary set of product norms that indicate the materials, dimensions and minimum acceptable performance expected from equipment used in water systems developed by industry committees including utility personnel and manufacturers. Generally adopted by public water utilities as the basis of their equipment requirements.


ANSI/AWWA C700-95 (Revision of ANSI/AWWA C706-91):
AWWA Standard for Cold-Water Meters Displacement Type, Bronze Main Case

• ANSI/AWWA C706-96 (Revision of ANSI/AWWA C706-91):
AWWA Standard for Direct Reading, Remote Registration Systems for Cold-Water Meters

• ANSI/AWWA C707-82 (92) (Revision of ANSI/AWWA C7076-75):
AWWA Standard for Encoder-Type Remote-Registration Systems for Cold-Water Meters.

• ANSI/AWWA C708-96 (Revision of ANSI/AWWA C708-91):
AWWA Standard for Cold-Water Meters - - Multi-Jet Type.

CALIFORNIA PROPOSITION 65  -- State law meant to protect drinking water sources from being contaminated by undesirable elements. Court actions under this law have focused on lead in drinking water and have resulted in acceptance of certain virtually lead-free bronze alloys for water meter main cases.

NSF INTERNATIONAL   -- Founded in 1944 as the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), NSF International is an independent not-for-profit standards development and product certification organization specializing in public health safety and the environment. For information, contact NSF International at: P. O. Box 130140, 780 Dixboro Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48113-0140. Phone: 800-NSF-MARK (for general information). FAX: 734-769-0109. Internet

NSF-61  -- NSF voluntary standard developed by users, health effects specialists, government agencies and producers dealing with materials used in drinking water systems that can indirectly inject additives.



FEDERALLOY®  -- A registered trademark of Federal Metal Company, Bedford OH, referring to lead-free family of alloys designed to substitute for leaded-brass alloys. Federally, I -836 is designed as a substitute for 85% waterworks bronze and Federalloy I-844 is designed as a substitute for 81% waterworks bronze. Federalloy I-836 is nominally 89% copper, 2% bismuth, 5% tin, 3% zinc with no more than 1% rare earth elements. Federally I-844 is nominally 89% copper, 3.2% bismuth, 3.2% tin, 3% zinc with less than 1% rare earth elements.

SEBILOY® II  -- A registered trademark of the Copper Development Association (CDA) and the Bronze and Brass Ingot Manufacturers (BBIM) referring to a bronze alloy which nominally contains 86% copper, 5.5% tin, 5% zinc,1.9% bismuth and 0.95% selenium, with no more than 0.25% lead. Designated by court action as an acceptable material under California Proposition 65.


There are several types of AMR Systems on the market. The choice depends on items including the property owner's needs and the individual application. As a general rule, as automation increases, the cost and use of labor decreases but the equipment cost increases. The chart below provides an overview of the common AMR Systems used in submetering.

Visual Read A person visually reads each meter on the property and enters the data into a handheld PC. Monthly N/A
Hardwire or Telephone Each meter is, in essence, connected via wire to a telephone line. Each meter can be connected to a phone line, or immediate electronics can be provided so that as many as several hundred meters can be connected to a single phone line. Weekly or Monthly N/A
Scan Read or Touch Pad Each meter is wired to a "pad" typically located in a group at the end of each building. A person physically brings a hand-held scanner into close proximity of the pad, which causes the meter read data to transfer to the handheld unit. Monthly Less than one inch fron the meter to the reader
Walk-By A person walk or drives around the property with an electronic device that interrogates each of the meters and collects that meter read data. Monthly Up to 100 feet
Fixed Network Wireless A transmitter is connected to each meter and data is transmitted via a wireless, Radio Frequency system to a central point where data is stored and transmitted via a single phone line. Daily or Weekly 100 feet to several miles depending on technology

Prepared by NSUAA for Multi-Housing News, published June 1999 (1) Handwire/wireless hybrids of these AMR systems are also available. (2)The range of any wireless system is dependent upon many factors, including the environment in which the equipment is operating. In this able,maximum open field ranges listed.