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Submetering in Washington State - Important Things To Consider Before Implementing a Submeter System

Washington Submetering Regulations

Gas and electric submetering in the State of Washington is regulated by the Washington Public Utility and Transportation Commission. Several local jurisdictions have also enacted regulations governing properties within their jurisdictions.

While there are no statewide water submetering regulations, Seattle has enacted a comprehensive submetering and third party billing ordinance governing properties located within the city.

For more information about the Washington regulatory environment, please contact our Tacoma office (

Key elements of Washington’s utility submetering and allocation environment are summarized below.

Water and Sewer

There are no submetering regulations at the state level in Washington. However, the Seattle Municipal Code, (Title 7, Chapter 7.25, SMC 7.25.040(A) sets out comprehensive regulations governing the practice of submetering within the city limits. Among other things, these regulations require that tenants be billed no more than the actual cost billed by the providing utility to the property. The Seattle submetering law also establishes specific bill presentation requirements and sets limits on billing fees.

The City of Auburn has also enacted a submetering law which must be observed within the city.

Washington Energy Code requires newly built apartment communities with central hot water to meter domestic hot water.


Electric submetering in Washington appears to be permitted as long as electricity is billed at the actual cost to the property and no fees are included in resident bills. However, before undertaking an electric submetering project in Washington it is important to contact the following entities to determine if additional regulations apply:

- Washington Public Utility and Transportation Commission - The local providing electric utility - Local government (city and county) in which the property is located. For example, Grays Harbor County has enacted a local electric submetering ordinance.


Gas allocation and submetering are allowed in Washington as long as residents are billed the actual cost billed to the property and no additional billing fees are included in the resident bills. Residents cannot be billed for common area gas usage. Under certain circumstances, the property owner may be responsible for the safety of underground gas pipelines.

For more information about Washington gas submetering or allocation, please contact our Tacoma office (

Refuse (Garbage) Service

RUBS billing of refuse service is not regulated in Washington.


The information presented above is meant to be used as a general guide to the state’s submetering regulatory environment. It is not intended to be used as legal advice in the conduct of business within the state.

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