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All posts tagged water submetering

Submeters Help Save Property $78,000

Columbus, Ohio October 2, 2015 – In 2013 affordable home provider Homeport noticed a sharp increase in water expenses at Parkmead Apartments located in Grove City. While neighboring properties saw a 5 percent increase, Parkmead experienced a 28 percent increase. In 2014, Parkmead’s water costs soared another 50 percent.

Something was wrong, and Homeport staff, working with its property management company Wallick Communities, initiated an effort to identify the problem and fix it.

“We pay close attention to our operating costs,” said Homeport President and CEO Amy Klaben.  “Parkmead’s water costs had to be brought under control.”

Initial efforts undertaken to solve the problem included pressure testing of water lines, installing a new master meter and repairing curb boxes. Sonar tests were also performed on the underground water lines.

In early 2015, with water bills continuing to grow and no solution in sight, it was decided to install individual water submeters in the 72 unit apartment community. Guardian Water & Power was called on to install the system and begin monthly monitoring and billing services.

The first monthly bill was an eye opener.  “Our monthly submetering report immediately documented a $6,000 monthly leak,” according to Wallick Regional Supervisor Lisa Landis.  “While the submeters showed $3,000 used by our residents, we were billed $9,000 by the City of Columbus.” Landis was convinced that a leak existed somewhere between the city master meter and the 72 individual submeters.

Armed with the sub-meter report and accompanied by a Guardian representative, Landis met with officials from the water department. The city suspected that clean water was draining directly into the sewer system.

Further investigation by a local plumbing and sewer drainage company revealed an underground leak draining directly into the sewer system. “Money was literally going down the drain at the rate of $6,000 per month,” Landis said.

Shortly after the discovery, a $78,000 settlement was reached with the city.      


About Homeport

Homeport is a 28-year-old non-profit with over 30 affordable home and market rate apartment communities throughout Central Ohio. It revitalizes neighborhoods, sells homes and is a leading provider of financial education courses related to housing, including home buying and foreclosure prevention. For more information, visit

About Wallick Communities

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Wallick Communities operate four business divisions:  Wallick-Hendy Properties, Wallick-Hendy Development, Wallick Asset Management and Wallick Construction. Wallick Communities has been providing development, management and construction expertise for a wide range of residential and commercial projects since 1966. Today, Wallick Communities specializes in affordable multi-family housing in the Midwest region of the U.S. For more information visit

About Guardian Water & Power

Guardian Water & Power is a full-service submetering and utility billing company with over 30 years of experience in the multifamily industry.  Headquartered in Columbus, Guardian maintains regional offices in Raleigh, Seattle and Ann Arbor.  For more information visit

Guardian Partners with Seattle Housing Authority

Columbus, Ohio July 7, 2015 – Guardian Water & Power, a leading national provider of utility cost recovery services, today announced that it has signed a multi-year contract with the Seattle Housing Authority.  Under terms of the agreement, Guardian will provide utility billing, payment processing, call center and equipment maintenance services.  “When the rollout is complete, we will be serving approximately 2,000 SHA rental units in the Seattle area,” according to Jaclyn LaFave, Guardian Account Representative.  Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, LaFave worked with Guardian’s Seattle staff to prepare the company’s bid presentation.

In addition to water, Guardian will also measure gas usage in hydronic heating and cooling systems.  These systems are equipped with BTU meters that measure flow rates and temperatures in order to determine energy usage in individual apartment units.

Guardian billing services will include an incentivized billing program which provides residents with a direct financial incentive for meeting utility conservation goals established for each property. The incentive program lets residents share in the apartment community’s cost savings resulting from resident efforts to reduce utility usage.

Among other requirements, the housing authority’s contract specifications included interpretation capabilities in a variety of languages. “To meet the language requirements of Seattle’s diverse population, we’ve partnered with Access 2 Interpreters,” said LaFave.  “A2I will assist our call center representatives with on-demand telephone interpretation services in over 180 languages.”

The initial property rollout begins this month with the final phase completed by December.


 About Seattle Housing Authority

Seattle Housing Authority’s mission is to enhance the Seattle community by creating and sustaining decent, safe and affordable living environments that foster stability and increase self-sufficiency for people with low incomes.  The agency provides long-term rental housing and rental assistance to more than 29,500 people.  For more information visit

About Access 2 Interpreters

A2I provides professional interpretation and translation services throughout the U.S.  Telephone Interpretation Services are available in over 180 languages and Translation Services in over 50 languages nationwide. A2I maintains a separate education department called Access Academy which offers training courses for interpreters and translators. Our interpreters and translators are trained in HIPAA regulations, confidentiality, and the Interpreter Code of Ethics, as well as Medical, Legal, and Social Services terminology.  For more information visit

About Guardian Water & Power

Guardian Water & Power is a full-service submetering and utility billing company with over 30 years of experience in the multifamily industry.  Headquartered in Columbus, Guardian maintains regional offices in Raleigh, Seattle and Ann Arbor.  For more information visit

GWP Has Standards Despite Few Rules

Article originally published in The Columbus Dispatch [View Original Article]

In the early 1980s, Harry Apostolos looked at the way apartment owners paid for utilities and he saw a textbook case of market inefficiency.

Most owners paid tenants’ water bills as part of the rent, and that left the residents with no incentive to conserve. Apostolos, who had just earned a master’s degree in economics from Ohio State University, decided to start a business that would provide what he saw as a better option.

“We were able to transmit a price signal that elicited a change in behavior that resulted in a drop in consumption,” he said.

In 1983, he co-founded the company now called Guardian Water & Power. He sold property owners on the idea of “submetering,” which meant he would install meters and handle billing, shifting the cost of the resource to the end user.

Guardian has 40 employees at its Grandview Heights offices and customers in 30 states. It is a family business, with Patricia, Harry’s wife, serving as the company president.

The company is one of about 50 businesses in the mainstream of the submetering industry in the United States, many of which are members of the Utility Management and Conservation Association. These businesses have models that are in contrast with two other central Ohio submeter companies, American Power & Light and Nationwide Energy Partners, that make a profit by marking up the cost of electricity or water. Such markups are against the law in most states, but not in Ohio.

Guardian is an example of how a typical submeter company makes its money. About three-fourths of Guardian’s annual sales come from a service fee of about $3-5 per customer bill, Apostolos said. The other one-fourth comes from selling and installing metering equipment.

“We don’t make a profit off of commodities,” he said. “We’re a billing service.”

For submeter companies such as Guardian that operate in multiple states, one of the most-complicated parts of doing business is following a multitude of state and local rules.

For example, North Carolina says a submeter company can charge a billing fee of no more than $3.75 per month; in Connecticut, submeter companies must register with the state utility commission.

Apostolos and his colleagues in the trade association would prefer it if there were few, if any, regulations and if the companies were allowed to police themselves.

But this only works if everyone is meeting some basic industry standards, said Arthur Blankenship, president of the trade group and owner of a submeter company in the Atlanta area. One of the most-important rules is that the submeter company must pass through costs to the consumer, with no markup other than the billing fee.

Blankenship said he expects that market forces will eventually weed out the companies with less consumer-friendly business models. “If you mark up your utilities too much, the competition uses that against you and your occupancy rate drops,” he said.

Apostolos is confident that his business model would not have to change much if Ohio responds to the markups here by passing new rules.

But that is not a top concern. He is much more focused on the mechanics of metering and how to improve it.

“There is a never-ending challenge of technology changes, to adapt our business to that technology,” he said.


An Update On Our Services – October 2014

Take Control of Your Utilities

Our website portal serves as a an extension to your property management software.  Use it to report changes in occupancy, access daily meter readings by apartment and keep tabs on resident utility payments.

Property managers can prepare and print final bills for vacating residents at the touch of a button.  By entering a move out date, our portal creates a final bill to print form the convenience of your leasing office.  The move out read on the final bill is taken by radio frequency that day.  The vacating resident is automatically moved out of  the apartment in our network once the final bill is printed.

Tired of keying in countless lines of utility payments into your property management software’s utility ledger? If you are using programs such as Yardi Voyager, RentManager or RealPage, we can provide integration solutions ranging from flat line export files to more advanced XML transfers and complete two-way synchronization.  This service known as GuardianLink+ ensures data accuracy and allows on-site staff to focus on what they do best – managing apartments!

Contact us for more information on our website portal or to schedule your on-site staff for training with a Guardian team member.

New Mobile App Makes Resident Utilities Easy

Designed with the resident in mind, the GWP Mobile App allows for easy viewing and payment of Guardian utility bills.  Residents can download the app on both the Google Play and iTunes stores.  The new app is for collection accounts only.  It was designed and developed in-house by the Guardian IT team.  Look for updates within the next year.

Check out the app on Google Play or iTunes.

New Construction Submetering

Guardian works directly with builders and developers during the construction of new properties.  Our utility services provide cost effective solutions to meet the growing demand for new construction submetering services.  Our developer friendly, resident friendly solutions incorporate proven measurement and utility management technologies.

To keep pace with construction, we typically “pre-ship”  spacer bar inserts and couplings for installation by the plumbing contractor.  At the developer’s option, Guardian technicians perform    final meter installation and radio frequency network assembly.  Billing services commence about one month after the apartments are occupied.

Click here to download a copy of our Developer’s Guide to Submetering.

Submeter Maintenance Alerts

Properly functioning meters maximize recovery of utility expenses and protect your bottom line. To ensure these problems are not overlooked, we send out email alerts spotlighting meters requiring service.  The alert includes information on how to schedule service with a Guardian technician.  Contact us for more information on Submeter Maintenance Alerts.

For more information contact National Sales Manages, Sean Dicks.

Guardian to Service Winter Park Village

Guardian Water & Power, a leading provider of utility submetering and billing services recently contracted with Casto to service Winter Park Village, a luxury urban lifestyle center just north of Orlando, Florida. Guardian is currently servicing the high-end retail stores and restaurants at Winter Park Village as well other Casto projects around the country.

Guardian is using Inovonics Wireless TapWatch 3 technology to obtain meter readings remotely and will be providing complete utility billing and payment processing for the community. In addition, Casto management will have access to daily water consumption figures by apartment to pinpoint leaks using GuardianScan+. Residents at Winter Park Village will enjoy the convenience of managing their utility accounts at the new GWPMobile app available on the iTunes and Google Play stores.  For more information on this project contact Guardian representative, Branham Stovall at 877 291 3141 x 113 or

About Casto

Casto has more than 80 years of success in the management of commercial, industrial, and residential real estate. They have long been recognized as a leader in the development of neighborhood and community centers. The utilization of design/development strategies by Casto exemplifies the management company’s ability to create value for the communities they serve. More information at

About Guardian

Guardian Water & Power is a leading provider of submetering products and utility cost recovery services with over 30 years of experience in the multifamily industry. Headquartered in Columbus, Guardian maintains regional offices in Raleigh, Seattle and Ann Arbor. For more information visit