Divide and conquer was a successful strategy in feudal Britain. It also plays out in the ‘game of energy’ in strata buildings.
It is in the interest of large energy companies to divide a building up into multiple energy contracts for the common area and each individual unit. That way no-one in the apartment complex has bargaining power against the multiple energy companies on offer.
The answer to this conundrum, being deployed in some new developments, is an ’embedded electrical network.’
Under an Electricity Industry Exemption order, the owners corporation can install an embedded network which starts with a new “master meter” being installed in front of the individual unit meters and strata common area meters to capture ALL electricity entering the building. The next step is for the Owners Corporation to purchase all the existing meters from the individual units.
At this point, the Owners Corporation can become the “network owner” and receive a single bill for the entire apartment block. This will require the Owners Corporation to be responsible for compliance and code requirements. With the proper sub-metering in place, the Owners Corporation can then bill all the units individually through their existing billing mechanism – the strata levy.
The bonus is that some individual units in the building may halve their electricity bill, when their small electricity bill is aggregated with the bills of other residents and the strata common areas.
This is currently being deployed into some new developments. It will soon become feasible, from an economic perspective, for the embedded electrical network to be retrofitted into existing strata buildings.