Submetering-RUBS Trends In Western States

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  • 1. Submetering-RUBS Trends In Western StatesEven as the economy slows, submetering & RUBS continue to increase across the west. While therehas been an overall drop off in both new construction and retrofits. Submetering penetrationcontinues to climb in all western states. The following state by state summaries show positive upwardtrends for all states.ARIZONAOver the years Arizona has been one of the hottest markets in the nation for RUBS/submetered waterand submetered central heat/air conditioning systems. Penetration levels in many Phoenix area citiesare in excess of 70%. However as vacancies have increased and building has slowed the market hascooled considerably. Phoenix continues to have some of the lowest water rates in the west while itsmajor reservoir sits far below capacity. New construction has slowed and at present there is very littleretro-fitting going on.CALIFORNIACalifornia Weights and Measures rules and regulations have made submetering far more difficult thanit needs to be, as a result the cost for equipment to submeter is the highest in the country with fewmeter manufacturers even attempting to sell their products in California. While California continues tobe a very hot market for submetering its present rules and regulations make it difficult for metermanufacturers to do business there. A couple of years ago the Department of the Interior orderedCalifornia to quit taking more Colorado River water than it is entitled to under the Colorado RiverCompact. If the ruling stands, California will lose several thousand acre feet of water annually withlittle chance of making up the shortfall without major conservation efforts.COLORADOMost Colorado water districts have raised water rates and many have implemented tiered ratestructures. Property owners continue to implement submetering or RUBS programs giving Coloradoone of the highest penetration rates in the region. Both gas and electric submetering have seen a risein recent years.NEW MEXICOOver the last few years New Mexico has seen consistent growth in both RUBS and metered water.Recent years have seen an acceleration of the transfer of water costs to residents.OREGONConflicting information from the state on whether billing charges and other costs can be passedthrough to residents has slowed the growth of both RUBS and submetering of water. Whilesubmetering and RUBS are both increasing in use, Oregon is considerably behind both California andWashington. Gas & Electric metering and allocation are specificallyprohibited.TEXASBy far the most active market in the country for water. Last year Texas accounted for almost a quarterof all new submetered water or RUBed properties. All forms of gas and electric submetering and
  • 2. RUBS are allowed but that market is considerably smaller than it is for water.UTAHWhile there has been an increase in both metering and RUBS water in the last few years and a largeincrease in the last year, Utah still somewhat lags behind the rest of the region in passing coststhrough to residents but that is changing. There has been some call for gas and electric submeteringbut Utah is a minor market for these services.WASHINGTONWashington state has been one of the industries most consistent users of both metered and RUBSbillings. While there has been no dramatic increases, there has been steady growth for several years.Gas has seen a similar steady growth over the last several years with no indication of any kind of aslowdown. Electric has seen only minimal use in the area.SummaryOverall passing water costs through to residents continues to increase in virtually all markets. Even inmarkets that have seen high vacancies the interest remains high. The best guess is that at presentover 3 million units nationwide presently pass through water costs, with the numbers continuing togrow.Gas & electric submetering continues to steadily grow primarily in areas where there are largenumbers of pre 1980 units and new construction where for economic or aesthetic reasons, centralboiler systems are installedreal estate North Hollywood