Real Estate Weekly
Image default
Green Building

Reference testing is the gold standard of meter reading

By Tim Angerame, Chief Operating Officer, utiliVisor

A major high-rise commercial building in New York was losing approximately $25,000 per month in cost recovery from tenants due to the possible faulty operation of electric submeters.

Reference testing — a fast, cost-effective analysis that is used to verify the operation and accuracy of electric submeters — and the correction of operational problems rectified the situation with an estimated payback of only one month.


The purpose of reference testing is to verify that all meter elements are sensing and receiving the correct voltage and current for each phase of a specific polyphase electric service, and that the meter is operating within prescribed tolerances — and, if not, to identify the errors. Circuit load is measured by a National Institute of Standards and Testing-certified Dranetz Energy Platform Load Analyzer and compared to the value displayed by the meter.

If the meter is wired incorrectly and/or current transformers (CTs) are improperly installed and inaccurately reporting to the building’s utility data collection computer, then the property owner could be losing significant revenue.

In this case, the problem was identified by an energy analyst in the remote operations center of utiliVisor, the third-party, independent energy monitoring and advisory firm that provides utility data collection and analysis for tenant cost allocation and bill package generation for the owner.

By analyzing the submetering readings on the basis of cost and usage per square foot, the energy analyst identified inconsistencies and very low readings for 27 of the property’s 189 electric submeters.

The firm’s field service technician performed reference testing on a seven-meter sample in the building, which identified one meter that was reading 51.2% inaccurate because of improper phasing of current transformers.

A comprehensive monthly metering service should include these components:

Reference testing submeters can spot problems early on.

• Remote or on-site meter reading
• Billing analysis and bill reconciliation: a thorough, continuous examination of all bills to verify accuracy and determine usage and billing based on client leases, building agreements, and rates and tariffs
• Internal reviews and quality assurance and tenant resolution
• Data analytics: accurate identification of opportunities to save energy and recommendations for corrective action

Energy-savings solutions: recommendations for tenants to resolve energy issues, which reduce building consumption
Professional energy metering services can manage and measure utility consumption to ensure that tenants are accurately billed for cost recovery and anomalies are identified when metering systems are not performing or working as intended.

utiliVisor is an energy advisory firm that developed a web-based data collection and reporting system that enables building owners and managers to monitor progress/performance and index utility consumption, check reports and verify operating efficiency — supported by the analytical capabilities of licensed and degreed engineers in their remote operations center located in New York City.

Related posts

Empire State Realty Trust Reaches Carbon Neutrality for Commercial Portfolio


Bergman Real Estate Group Announces Major
Sustainability Initiatives Across All Properties


ISS to reach Full-Scope Net Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2040