Toronto, Ontario, December 6, 2018 – Wyse Meter Solutions Inc. (“Wyse”) today announced it has won the 2018 MAC Award for Outstanding Community Service (Supplier Member) presented by the Federation of Rental-Housing Providers of Ontario (“FRPO”).
Wyse is the first supplier member to receive a MAC Award, earning recognition for its comprehensive corporate social responsibility program, which supports local frontline partners providing shelter, advocacy and economic self-sufficiency services.
“Thanks to FRPO for honouring our community engagement with a MAC Award,” said Ian Stewart, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Wyse. “Our employees have shaped this program, and we encourage them to run with it. Our ongoing focus is to help the most vulnerable members of our communities. We’re contributing to the kind of society we want to live in.”
“We are very proud of the positive change we supported together with our impressive partners,” said Peter Mills, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Wyse. “As longtime members of FRPO, earning a MAC Award for our efforts is gratifying. We feel at home with our industry's shared dedication to making a difference.”
The MAC Awards celebrate the multi-residential industry’s innovation and commitment to quality, as well as everything that goes into promoting the brand of rental housing. The gala was held on Thursday, November 29 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre with a record-breaking 1,050 industry professionals in attendance.
Federation of Rental-Housing Providers of Ontario (FPRO) has been the leading voice of the Province's rental housing industry for over 30 years. It is the largest association in Ontario representing those who own, manage, build and finance, as well as those who
Wyse Meter Solutions Inc. provides turnkey submetering and utility expense management services to building owners, developers and property managers across Canada. Wyse is unique in its ability to provide clients with financial and utility consumption transparency, as well as accountability. Through an exclusive partnership with Conservice, the largest submetering and utility management company in North America, Wyse is able to offer its customers a powerful program known as Synergy, providing owners and managers with a 360-degree comprehensive view of the entire utility spend within a building or portfolio of buildings. Synergy is already in use across 2.5 million units in North America, including eight of the top ten owners and managers of multi-family real estate. For more information on Wyse, visit its website at www.wysemeter.com.
During a Canada Post Service Disruption, your paper bill from Wyse may be delayed, and if you mail payment to Wyse it may be delayed. Please remember that it’s important to keep your Wyse account in good standing during a postal service disruption.
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Toronto, ON (September 13, 2018) – Canadian Business and Maclean’s today ranked Wyse Meter Solutions Inc. No. 19 on the 30th annual Growth 500, the definitive ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies. Wyse’s five-year revenue growth of 3,284% delivers a clear message about how submetering in the digital age should really work.
The company’s centre of gravity has always been submetering and utility expense management, driving innovation across the entire service experience. By going deeper and offering the best service possible, Wyse empowers customers to take control of their utility usage and access the expert support they’ve been missing. Its reputation as the industry’s most visionary player comes from its bold steps to provide a robust platform with in-depth utility reporting services, to automate enrolment processes, and to communicate with residents in 26 languages.
“At Wyse, our overarching goal is to provide our clients from coast to coast with the most useful suite of submetering and utility expense management tools in the industry combined with seamless execution,” says Ian Stewart, Co-CEO of Wyse Meter Solutions Inc. “We could not be more proud of our team as this most recent recognition by Growth 500, validates that our customer-centric vision continues to resonate within the industry.”
“We are very proud to be recognized by Canadian Business and Maclean’s as one of Canada’s Growth 500 success stories,” says Peter Mills, Co-CEO of Wyse Meter Solutions Inc. “Maintaining our position in the top 20 in Canada has only been possible through our extremely dedicated staff and the tremendous support and confidence we receive from our ongoing and new clients. We look forward to our continued success in the years to come.”
“The companies on the 2018 Growth 500 are truly remarkable. Demonstrating foresight, innovation and smart management, their stories serve as a primer for how to build a successful entrepreneurial business today,” says Deborah Aarts, Growth 500 program manager. “As we celebrate 30 years of
Produced by Canada’s premier business and current affairs media brands, the Growth 500 ranks Canadian businesses on five-year revenue growth. Growth 500 winners are profiled in a special print issue of Canadian Business published with Maclean’s magazine and online at CanadianBusiness.com and Growth500.ca.
About Wyse Meter Solutions Inc.
Wyse Meter Solutions Inc. provides turnkey submetering and utility expense management services to building owners, developers and property managers across Canada. Wyse is unique in its ability to provide clients with financial and utility consumption transparency, as well as accountability. Through an exclusive partnership with Conservice, the largest submetering and utility management company in North America, Wyse is able to offer its customers a powerful program known as Synergy, providing owners and managers with a 360-degree comprehensive view of the entire utility spend within a building or portfolio of buildings. Synergy is already in use across 2 million accounts in North America, including 8 of the top 10 owners and managers of
About the Growth 500
For 30 years, the Growth 500 has been Canada’s most respectable and influential ranking of entrepreneurial achievement. Ranking Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies by five-year revenue growth, the Growth 500—formerly known as the PROFIT 500—profiles the country’s most successful growing businesses. The Growth 500 is produced by Canadian Business. Winners are profiled in a special Growth 500 print issue of Canadian Business (packaged with the October issue of Maclean’s magazine) and online at Growth500.ca and CanadianBusiness.com.
About Canadian Business
Founded in 1928, Canadian Business is the longest-serving and most-trusted business publication in the country. It is the country's premier media brand for executives and senior business leaders. It fuels the success of Canada's business elite with a focus on the things that matter most: leadership, innovation, business strategy and management tactics. Learn more at CanadianBusiness.com.
The introduction of competition into Ontario’s utility metering environment was a measured move towards providing utility customers with the service they deserve, and an effort to keep administrative fees from increasing astronomically. It was clear that real change was needed to enhance protection for residents and improve service delivery, and that new players could shake things up. Given the complexities of Ontario’s utility and rental housing markets, on January 1, 2011, a comprehensive regulatory framework was set out to usher in submetering in a fair and transparent way. Over time, these regulations have evolved to meet customers’ needs, as unit sub-meter providers (
Ontario Energy Board (OEB)
The OEB was established by the Ministry of Energy in an effort to regulate the electricity and natural gas markets. Accordingly, the OEB has jurisdiction over regulating the activities of
The OEB grants licenses to
The Code is quite extensive and it is not unusual for clients, when reviewing agreements with
Energy Consumer Protection Act (ECPA)
While the main purpose of the ECPA is to provide guidelines to energy retailers as to how they can market contracts to individual consumers, it also provides some rules to USMPs and building owners setting out installation schedules for individual suite metering depending on building type (ie existing rental buildings, condominiums, new construction projects, non-profit housing, etc).
Section 38 of the ECPA Regulations sets forth the circumstances under which individual suite meters may be installed, whilst Section 39 sets forth the circumstances under which suite meters are required.
Further, the Regulations under this legislation mandate that
Specific to Landlords:
Residential Tenancies Act (the “RTA”)
The main takeaway for Landlords is that if they wish to submeter tenants in a building, they must obtain tenant acknowledgement and consent in the rental application or lease, specifying that electricity or water or other utilities are excluded from rent and that the tenant will be responsible for payment of those utilities to a third party provider at the commencement of his/her lease. Further, where the Landlord has electricity consumption data for the previous 12 months in a unit, the Landlord must provide such information to prospective tenants. The LTB website offers a sample form that may be used by Landlords for their convenience when providing the
Though the governing bodies and legislation mentioned in this article are the main source of authority for providing a code of conduct to USMPs and building owners, there are other regulatory bodies and/or legislation which provide additional guidelines for USMPs to comply within the submetering industry, including but not limited to: Measurement Canada, privacy acts and regulations, Electrical Safety Authority and individual municipal regulations.
While the regulatory landscape may continue to evolve, it is helpful for building owners interested in submetering programs to become familiar with the sound, customer-focused fundamentals upon which this industry is built.
By Malvina Sternak
In-house Counsel, Wyse Meter Solutions
When you pair the rising cost of electricity in Ontario with a historical disconnect between the tenant’s use of the electricity and the costs they incur, submetering is quickly becoming a real estate owner or manager’s new best friend. While utility submetering is becoming increasingly common for buildings in Toronto and other metropolitan areas, smaller market cities like Hamilton, Guelph and St. Catharine’s with independent,
“We recently completed the transition of over 4,000 residential units to sub-meters. The organizational savings to our firm in terms of execution, administration and tenant servicing through the outsourcing of this project to a professional submetering company was the most efficient and effective method of accomplishing our objective.” Matt Organ, President of Skyline Residential
As a building owner or manager, you can count on your utility submetering provider to liaise with your residents regarding monthly billing issues
1. Transparent and Accurate Billing
A private utility submetering service will take the hassle out of submetering for a landlord. This includes initial calculation of utility credits, to tenants being transitioned, right through to billing and collections. In short- submetering provides transparency. By independently measuring each unit’s usage, there is little room for argument on the tenant side after delivering accurate, carefully calculated bills on a strict month-to-month basis.
2. Accessible & Efficient Customer Service
By bringing on a professional service to handle your electricity submetering, you are also adopting a professional grade of customer service, with access to call centers that offer responsive customer service in multiple languages to reflect our province’s multi-cultural population. Call centers also mean more representatives which means faster service and lower call wait times. Be sure to do your research in this department when selecting your utility submetering service. Make sure they offer an in-house call center as opposed to outsourcing, check out their call-center wait times, as well as the quality of training given to their customer service representatives. This will ensure that your residents really do benefit from their
3. Self-Monitoring Resources and Tools for Residents
Submetering offers the opportunity for residents to take their consumption into their own hands. By giving them access to
4. Resources and Support for Owners and Managers
Landlords and building managers can look forward to developing invested, long-term relationships with a quality utility submetering provider who can provide expertise, guidance and timely market knowledge on a regular basis. To ensure you are going to be as well-supported as possible, make sure your provider’s executive team is directly accessible.
5. Staff Training
A legitimate provider will educate your staff on utility submetering, billing, and the use of their web portal so that they can effectively interact with your residents, and answer initial questions regarding enrollment and the use of self-monitoring resources. However, it is important that your staff is trained not to play the
Submetering has become an accepted strategy across the province for most landlords. When you decide it’s time to make the transition, remember the benefits of a professional submetering company outweigh the costs for both the
For the multi-unit property at 15 Orton Park Road, Direct Properties Inc. (DPI) identified a business case for a conversion to a cutting-edge, electrical submetering program. The transition to Wyse’s class-leading platform was found to better align with DPI’s long-term objectives:
Description of Activities
Wyse seamlessly transitioned 147 residential suite accounts onto its sophisticated platform, already in use in over 2 million multi-residential units in North America. The client-focused approach included in-depth training for the entire DPI team to effectively use the portal and analysis tools for bulk data access, as well as to handle new enrolments. Additional education and outreach detailed the customer service features available for residents – notably a web portal that provides access to suite billing data, and an expert call centre that provides immediate answers in 26 languages, 14 hours a day.
“We have been in the multi-unit residential rental property management business for over 40 years and dealt with several companies who more often than not did not live up to expectations. I am thrilled to conclude that our experience with Wyse has been exemplary! Wyse made submetering extremely easy for us and we cannot be happier with the professionalism, dedication, and expertise the entire Wyse team has shown us.”
- Annette Mincer, President of Direct Properties Inc.
One of the first things they teach you in economics is the law of demand: the more the price of
When a landlord includes a utility in rent, it means that utility becomes a free commodity for the tenant. The tenant can consume as much as they want with no financial consequence. It is an unusual choice for an expensive commodity, but it nonetheless is still commonplace in Canada. So we know that people consume more of a good when it has a lower price – how about when it is free? Now that a number of landlords in Ontario have experience with submetering of utilities, more and more data is available which gives us a sense of just how responsive utility consumption is to changes in prices (that’s the elasticity of demand, another economics 101 lesson).
One company that was quick to move to address the lack of pricing for electricity in its portfolio was Starlight Investments Ltd. Starlight is a company that looks for innovative approaches to create
To determine the impact submetering was having on Starlight’s portfolio, I recently undertook an analysis of four Starlight properties using data readily available in Wyse’s utility billing web portal. I chose buildings with higher penetration rates of bill-payers so we could fairly compare bill-payers with non-bill-payers. While we have known about consumption reductions in response to billing for years, the results were still surprising.
The implications for Starlight are very straightforward. The average
John Lucic, Starlight’s Executive Director of Energy & Technical Maintenance, has been pleased with the results. “Our submetering program has been a tremendous boost for our energy cost reduction
While we often focus on the bottom line benefits, what is not often discussed are the implications for the environment. From the data above, each time a non-bill-payer is replaced with a bill-payer, monthly consumption is dropping by about 300 kWh on average. That is the equivalent savings of 2.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide put into the environment. That’s 63 trees grown for 10
What’s interesting is the potential of Ontario’s rental industry to benefit the environment. Starlight is one of the early adopters of submetering, so is a leader in the greening of our industry. However, many rental housing providers have yet to even consider submetering. Wyse estimates that there are still some 750,000 rental residential units in Ontario that are bulk metered for electricity. Even if the savings are half of what we found in the four Starlight buildings, say 150 kWh monthly, it means that the rental industry has the potential to contribute potential savings of 1,350,000,000 kWh. To put this in perspective, that is the equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions/savings from one of the following:
Data has just been released by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showing that 2014 was the warmest year on record, and that greenhouse gas emissions were the primary
Grow revenue. Help the environment. Invest more wisely
Measuring and reporting on energy and water consumption, as Bill 135 directs the Ministry of Energy to implement, is part of a larger global trend that is showing up in more and more jurisdictions each year. Already in the United States, at least 9 major cities and 1 state have EWRB requirements. These jurisdictions believe that the health and other benefits of a cleaner environment and better
By passing Bill 135, Ontario joins the growing number of global communities taking steps toward environmental responsibility. As an additional benefit, Bill 135 provides tools to allow Ontario to gain knowledge on how to reduce the costs surrounding utility expenses for its citizens, which is badly needed. For one thing, by understanding what is being used, apartment owners gain greater insights into their utility expense and tend to find ways to cut costs merely by having the information, which would reduce the burden on the energy grid and lower expense to the utility providers that can be passed onto the
Ontario’s current plan to implement EWRB involves phasing in requirements over a number of years.
Utility costs are expected to continue their steady rise over the next five years. If these costs are not effectively managed by your condominium, they can have a negative impact on your condominium’s value.
For many condominium buildings, utility costs are part of the common element fee – condo fees. Condominium purchasers are increasingly conscious of condo fees, and high fees can negatively impact on condo values. An independent study comparing two neighbouring buildings suggests that suites in the building with higher condo fees than its neighbours sold for $229 less per square foot. Conversely, a condominium that reduced its maintenance fees by 30 percent experienced sale price increases greater than neighbouring properties.
Utility cost can represent as much as 50 percent of a condominium’s common element costs. Any effective strategy to reduce those costs will benefit your
One simple way for many condominium corporations to reduce their energy consumption is sub-metering. Sub-metering can be implemented at no capital cost to the condominium corporation. Once implemented, in-suite electricity consumption is eliminated from common element fees and should lead to a condo fee reduction.
When individual households are billed based on their personal consumption, numerous studies have shown dramatic decreases in consumption levels - as much as 60 percent. Overall, a building’s energy consumption will experience a significant decrease from sub-metering which also benefits the environment.
There is also a fairness benefit. Lower energy users are no longer required to subsidize high energy users through their condo fees after sub-metering is implemented.
Sub-metering is one of many approaches condominium corporations can explore to lower utility consumption in their building and potentially reduce condo fees. Some approaches may require a capital investment by the corporation and offer a quick payback – such as lighting retrofits. Regularly reviewing utility efficiency measures remains an effective way to increase the value of one’s condo building and home.
Most major Canadian rental markets are experiencing extremely low vacancies, yet under tight rent control policies, and expanding regulatory responsibilities, owners and operators cannot keep pace with sharply increasing utility costs. As a result, submetering has become the go-to strategy for relief from rising operating costs and low cap acquisitions in a rent-controlled market. Mark Kenney, COO of CAPREIT says: “Market Analysts keep pointing to our submetering program as a positive driver in our stock price. When we convert a suite to ‘plus electricity’ it’s equivalent to a 5% rent increase“.
Submetering Basics: Cost Control
Submeters measure in-suite utility consumption. Residents are billed individually and pay only for their consumption of any given utility being metered. Electricity is the most commonly metered utility and is the easiest utility to retrofit in an existing building. A growing number of existing buildings also meter for water, especially in markets like Vancouver and Ottawa where the building profile is particularly conducive to this retrofit, and the supply and cost of water has become a hot-button topic. New construction projects are including water and gas and sometimes even heating and cooling (
Submetering Results in Reduced Utility Consumption
Depending on the building configuration roughly 60% of the electricity bill is associated with in-suite use. In addition, the positive impact on reducing overall energy use is significant. Typically in-suite consumption drops by 34% to 48% in non-electrically heated buildings, reducing the overall building consumption as much as 32%. When it comes to a reduction in water consumption through submetering a lot depends on the building profile, in-suite versus common area amenities, and pre-existing water efficiency measures. The number is highly variable but on average in-suite water consumption drops by 30%. Reduction of overall utility use is good for the environment and easier on the building infrastructure, reducing wear and tear, operating and maintenance costs.
What’s Involved: Focus on Retrofit
The rules and regulations around metering for electricity are the most stringent and are the focus here. When it comes to any utility metering project, it’s always best to work with a provider that works with multiple meter manufacturers and can tailor a project to your specific building requirements.
Smart Meter versus Submeter?
The term “submeter” refers to any meter that is installed after the bulk meter to read a specific area (a suite for example) or even a piece of equipment on the property. It can be nothing more than a simple “dial under glass” meter. “Smart meters” incorporate any number of additional capabilities:
Whatever the meter type it’s important to ensure that meters are using a non-proprietary software. Using meters with proprietary software means owners end up paying for expensive software updates and meter recertification processes and may limit their choice of service providers down the road.
Submetering providers supply and install the meters at no charge to the building owner under a comprehensive billing agreement. Other options are available, but this is the most popular model. There are a few exceptions, for example in Ontario buildings that had submeters installed prior to 2011 may bill for all electricity use, including heating. After this date, billing only lights and plug loads are allowed, for now. Some additional work may be required to separate out electric heat. In most other Canadian jurisdictions the full electrical load used by the resident can be metered and billed.
Easy, Fast Installation
Installing meters is a simple exercise when dedicated crews are used. They understand the working environment in a residential building and legislative requirements. There is very little disturbance to the building and the residents. Meter panels are quite compact and are easily installed within existing electrical closets in the building corridor – a critical feature for markets like Vancouver where every square foot counts. Other than a few minutes to verify the suite be connected correctly to the submeter, there is no in-suite work. Disruption to power in-suite is just a few hours. Depending on building configuration the installation of water meters may occur either outside or within the suite itself, with all other associated equipment installed in common areas.
The Billing Process
Every provider bills a little differently, however, all must at a minimum follow the standards in place set by the local jurisdictional authority to maintain their license. The Ontario Energy Board standards are the most rigorous so most submetering companies that operate nationally apply this standard across all jurisdictions. These standards dictate the following:
A quality submetering provider will strive to exceed these standards. Accurate, transparent and timely billing and reporting is the most critical component of any submetering program as it directly impacts the resident experience in your property and the owner’s internal accounting processes.
Your Customers and Ours: The Residents
In most Canadian jurisdictions building owners may enroll existing residents after their current lease term expires and have been successfully doing so for years. If your buildings are in Ontario, the legislation allows for the enrollment of new tenants to the building only. Your submetering service provider should deliver education, training and ongoing support for your staff so that they can properly enroll tenants and answer some basic questions. In addition, submetering providers should have a comprehensive customer service program for your residents. This should include:
RECAP: Submetering Benefits