This page contains a description and explanation of submetered and allocated utility billing. The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) writes and adopts rules to govern billing practices for water and sewer utility services provided by property owners to tenants (or by condominium associations to members).
What is "submetered" or "allocated" billing?
Under both of these billing methods, the local public utility measures water use for the whole property at a "master" meter and then bills the property owner based on the master meter reading. Then:
- Under submetered billing, the owner uses submeters at each dwelling unit to bill tenants for water and sewer services based on their actual water usage.
- Under allocated billing, the owner does not meter each dwelling unit, but uses a formula to allocate water and sewer utility charges among the tenants.
The charges billed by the owner are based on the bill received from the public utility for water and sewer services provided to the owner.
Who can bill tenants in these ways?
Owners of the following types of properties are allowed to bill their tenants for the actual cost of water or sewer service provided by the local utility:
- Manufactured home rental communities;
- Condominiums; and
- Strip malls, marinas, and other multiple-use facilities.
Owners who submeter or allocate utility bills must follow PUC rules. These owners must also file a Registration of Submetered or Allocated Utility Service Form for each property where tenants are billed.