At Argen, we offer the unique understanding that comes from long & varied experience.

Our past makes our selection as your utility management provider the obvious, intelligent choice for your future. The company was founded in 1982, when utilities were almost universally included "free" with rent, and conservation concerns were practically unheard of. Argen started as an energy control and conservation firm. We began promoting water conservation before most property owners or managers even realized there were viable ways to control consumption. Years of analyzing utility usage and problem solving have clients everywhere depending on Argen.

water billing

Tap Into Superior Service at Every Turn

We have the valuable and all-too-rare ability to anticipate and solve problems with the full scope of utilities, including water, electricity and gas. Our insight & expertise extend to virtually any kind of installation such as:

Multi and single family housing
Office, retail, commercial sites
Municipal and government locations
Institutional complexes
Manufacturing and Industrial facilities

potable water

Turn to Argen for Comprehensive Utility Management

Utility cost management
Reading, billing and collection
Sub-metering and sub-billing
Utility conservation retro-fits
Metering and read systems
Primary metering
Utility conservation analysis

Services at a Glance

If you are looking to increase your cash flow and help conserve water, it just makes sense to contact Argen. We offer turnkey water submeter systems, meter reading, complete billing and collection (RBC) services.

water submeters
Water Submetering

Water submetering is the installation of water submeters in individual resident units, and using the meters as the bases for utility billing services and water conservation programs. Argen supplies water submeter systems for construction and retrofit scenarios, and supplies utility billing services and water conservation management systems.

In today’s world, water submeters are fitted with radio transmitters, and water submeter reads are transmitted through signal repeaters to an on-site base station. An internet or phone modem is connected to the base station, and water submeter read files are remotely downloaded. For some water submeter scenarios drive around systems are utilized, where the data collector is mobile and the reader goes on site to collect reads.

State, and sometimes local, regulations control the structure of submetering billing services. It is important to research individual states to make sure a proposed application is legal. Some regulations allow administrative costs and common area usage to be billed to tenants.

The 3 Methods used for Utility Billing Services:

1) Total Capture Metering, where one utility service point exists for each dwelling unit, then a meter is installed at that service point. This one meter measures all the utility for that unit. Common when metering is installed during construction.

2) How Water Allocation Metering. Where one utility service point does not exist, or where establishing that point is excessively expensive, then meters are installed on the cold water inlet of each unit’s hot water heater. Hot water usage is multiplied by a factor to determine total hot and cold water billing usage. The multiplier factor is engineered for each property. Common when metering is retrofitted in existing properties.

3) Where no utility service point exists, and where there are no individual unit water heaters, then residents are billed without meters. The RUBS program is based upon square footage, the number of occupants, or both. Common in older assets where meter points were not designed or applied during construction, or where capitalization does not permit meter expenditures. Not allowed in all states.

billing methods
The 3 broad components of a utility submeter system:

1) Industry certified electric, gas or water submeter. Each submeter has a radio transmitter built in or attached. Lithium battery is the typical power source.

2) Signal Repeaters to repeat the radio signal, which is typically in the 900 MHz spectrum. Generally one repeater is placed on each building for garden style units, or on every floor for mid and high rises. Requires 120 v power source.

3) Base Station to collects meter reads; requires 120 v power source and dedicated internet connection. Argen Billing Systems downloads submeter read files for billing and conservation purposes.

billing system components
Flexibility for Meter Installations

In today’s market most submeters utilize radio based read systems which does not require access into the home for meter reading. This allows flexibility for meter installation, which often is in an internal utility closet, kitchen closet, crawl space or attic, wherever the service line enters the unit.

Residential, commercial office and retail applications benefit from water submetering. Most dwelling, office or retail units use a standard 5/8” x 3/4" water submeter. Larger applications (restaurants, grocers) would need one to three inch meters, depending upon service line specs.

120/240 single phase electric meters are standard in most residential applications; larger meters are used for commercial, retail and common area submeter points.

Due to regulator control venting, gas submeters have more limited uses and points of service, particularly in mid and high rise applications. In instances where location is restricted, run time systems are utilized instead of a submeter. Run time measures the amount of time a thermostat calls for a unit to run, and is installed on the low voltage side of controls. It is less costly than gas submetering.

resident bills
Resident Bills

The size of resident bill amounts depends upon the usage and the rates of the primary supplier, and widely varies. W/S bills can range from a monthly average $15 in Memphis, to over $100 in Atlanta. High end bills can be over $400 per month in high rate municipalities. Many w/s utilities use high fixed base rates, giving minimal bills of over $35.

The typical process for implementing a utility billing program:

1) Usage and rate analysis performed on primary providers’ water/sewer billing history.

2) Water Submetering Strategic Plan developed by management and services provider.

3) Metering, read system and installation quote formulated.

4) Training of all site and regional personnel performed by services provider. Education of all personnel critical to program success.

5) Lease renewal and new move in process begins to bring residents into the program. May begin months prior to system installation, to “front load” the number of residents on the program and shorten payback period.

6) Submetering system installed.

7) First billings thirty to sixty days after installation.

billing implementation
A typical utility submetering cycle:

1) Resident activity report, or rent roll, is sent to the billing services provider. Audit is performed to determine move in dates for new residents, move out dates for Final Billings, and resident transfers-on-site.

2) Meter readings are downloaded, resident usage for the billing period is determined. Bills are calculated using the primary water/sewer providers’ rate structure. (Resident usage) x (Provider rate) = Bill amount.

3) Utility billing service provider mails bills directly to residents. Timely and on schedule billing is critical to program success.

4) Residents have 15 days to remit payment to the billing services provider. Reply envelope is included with the bill. Online and over-the-phone payments are offered as well.

5) Residents contact the billing services provider with questions regarding the bill. Management brought into the loop as needed.

6) Resident payments are processed by services provider. Services provider remits revenue and reporting to management. Service provider charges per unit fee for operating the program.

7) Late fees are charged to non-payers. Implementation of overdue policy critical to program success.

8) Primary provider water/sewer bills are paid by management as is current practice. Copies of provider bills are sent to the billing services provider so usage and rate analysis can be performed.

submeter cycle

Contact Argen

Have Questions? Need Help? Request a Quote?

Monday - Friday | 8:00am - 5:00pm EST

Customer Service:
Phone: 770-760-9696
Toll Free: 888-547-2133
Fax: 770-760-7036

Client Services:
Phone: 678-413-4096

Phone: 678-413-4082
Email: (540) 648-6403

Mail Payments To:
P.O. Box 82389
Conyers, GA 30013

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