Minimum Water Bill for master meter?


We recently switched from well water to city water and had a master meter installed. Based on current usage, our water bill is around 1800 for 120k gallons of water. There are 45 occupied lots and the water utility is charging me a minimum of 23 for each lot occupied and that includes 1500 gallons of water per lot then they charge the regular rate of .089 per gallon.
If we weren’t getting hit with a lot fee, the water bill would be around 1000 for 120k gallons.

Is this something that is worthwhile to fight? Anybody else deal with this same situation?


$800 a month is worth fighting for.


Is it worth it given the likelihood of getting it changed?

Any suggestions on how to handle the situation?

I am billing the water costs back to the tenants next year.


RE: Minimum Water Bill for master meter?

Almost all municipal and private water suppliers charge both base fees (same charge each billing cycle) and usage charges which are based on consumption. Water fees and charges are typically regulated through a government related identity, for example a State Utility Commission, or in some cases a city or county agency. Find the agency and confirm the rates being charged are correct.

In your case, appears you are paying $1035 for base charges (45 units X $23) for use up to 67.5 K gallons (total MHP), then and $765 for usage ( 86 K gallons @ $8.90 per 1000 gallons). Total of $1800 per month, Overall usage is running approx. 3.4K per home which is typical for the average 1 or 2 person household. (Great !).

Sub-metering takes the water & sewer component out of the rental equation. Water rates will continue to go up, like electric, cable TV, ect. Let the sub-metering company handle the future pass through increases. The annual water increases will be a non-event to you,
as the landlord.

We’re here to answer your water sub-metering questions.

Dan Helton
Southern Water Management


How can they charge a per unit base charge even though I only have one master meter?



A water supplier can charge base fees on a infinite amount of ways, as long the rate structure has been approved by the “governing” agency.

On top of this monopolistic attempt by the supplier to get the most revenue possible, the actual method of calculating the “base” fees is often up to interpretation.

Case in point, We sub-metered a MHP several years ago: Charged the MH owners the same rates as charged by MHP’s single main meter; A single base fee of $15 for the main meter was divided among the sub-metered MHs; After several years the water supplier re-evaluated their interpretation of the “approved rates”; Now charges $15 per MH; As the sub-metering company we passed through the increase with a letter informing the MH owners of the drastic increase and the fielded the numerous angry calls.

The rational for drastic increase: The water supplier needed more money to maintain their infrastructure, thus justified the water increase.

We’re here to answer your water sub-metering questions.

Dan Helton
Southern Water Management


Some water providers will give you a break on vacant units, if you inform them of the situation. They will probably want you to provide some verification, fill out forms, or jump through other hoops, but it sounds like the savings would be worth it. They may not do this on master metered units, but since they are charging a base rate per unit, that definitely opens the door to a discussion of vacant units. It may be a grey area and if you just provide a reasonable rational for your request, they might work with you.

Also, see what their policy is for regularly metered properties. Do they allow verifiably vacant units a lower or zero base rate? If so, this would support your request as well.

Good luck! Please let us know how it goes for you.