SUBMETERING FOR MALL TENANT BILLING
January 25, 2016
WEST EDMONTON MALL CASE STUDY:
COST RECOVERY BILLING SYSTEM A WIN-WIN FOR TENANTS AND LANDLORD.
West Edmonton Mall tenants benefit from accurate utility usage data and the landlord from a utility cost recovery billing system.
West Edmonton Mall Challenges:
- Required a system to accurately bill tenants for individual utility consumption
- Required integration with existing property management software
- Needed meter readings to be accurate and less time consuming for quicker bill turnaround
- Ability to integrate meter data with MRI Software (West Edmonton Mall’s property management software)
- Cost of installation – meters are connected to building management system via power line carrier (vs data lines)
- Ongoing support
West Edmonton Mall needed a way to accurately bill all tenants for their individual utility consumption. Tenant billing was generated manually from the accounting department based on individual meter readings from mall electricians. This required too many hours spent reading meters and generating billings; created errors due to manual reading and data entry; and did not allow meter failures to be detected on a timely basis. Finding a solution became imperative when mall ownership decided to implement a cost recovery strategy for tenants utility usage. As they utilized property management software system, any meter management system and resulting usage data would need to offer easy integration.
Why West Edmonton Mall chose QMC over competitors
QMC could deliver a metering solution that seamlessly integrated with their property management system so West Edmonton Mall ownership felt confident in the solution. It allowed for an all-in-one bill for tenants, including their electricity, water, and/or gas usage. In addition, the total cost of the solution was a deciding factor. Typically data would be transmitted over hard wired communication; cabling a property the size of West Edmonton Mall would be cost prohibitive. QMC’s utility submeter solution allows meter data to be transmitted over the existing power lines using power line carrier communications.
The project began with the implementation of electrical meters for every tenant resulting in a meter system of 500+ meter points. Subsequently, water and gas meters were added for high usage tenants such as restaurants and food court for an additional 200+ meter points managed by QMC. In January 2011, West Edmonton Mall began billing tenants for their electrical, meter and gas consumption. The project continues: more new meter installations to meet the tenant’s various needs, plus regular upgrading and recertifying of meters. As part of the QMC service package, a technician makes monthly site visits to work with the client’s building operations team to assess new meter requirements and make continuous improvements to the metering solution.
“QMC brought us a solution that was customized for our cost recovery and tenant billing needs. QMC gave us a solution that was electronic; no more Excel spreadsheets, no more site staff reading the end reads incorrectly, and no more delays due to staff having more important duties. The beneficial aspect is all our readings could be read electronically and billings could be integrated with our existing accounting software. Ownership has realized the importance of the investment and with accurate information, the recovery dollar certainly has risen.”
– Shauna Cuddahy (Senior Accountant), West Edmonton Mall
West Edmonton Mall is North America’s largest indoor mall and at over 5.3 million square feet, it is the size of a city. Known as one of Canada’s premier destination entertainment and shopping malls with over 800 stores and services, nine attractions, two hotels, 100+ dining venues; serving almost 31 million visitors annually. West Edmonton Mall opened in the early 1980’s and tripled in size by the end of the 90’s. Owned by Triple Five Worldwide Group of Companies, an international developer, and operator of real estate and other business interests.