Q3. What are the proper steps to install electricity and water meters for calculating the utility charges for the sub-divided unit tenants?
On electricity supply, the power companies will install individual meters for customers if prior consent from landlords and building management has been obtained, and that the units concerned comply with the relevant prerequisites and safety standards such as the installation of an individual door, and that the separate electrical installations and other facilities can meet the safety standards stipulated in the Electricity Ordinance (Cap. 406) and requirements of the Supply Rules of the power companies.
If the rental premises are sub-divided units equipped with electrical installations and separate meters, landlords' consent will be required to modify the existing electrical installations to meet the safety standards stipulated in the Electricity Ordinance and the requirements of the Supply Rules before individual meters can be installed.
In addition, meters must be connected to the riser which supplies electricity in a building and be installed in the common areas to facilitate meter reading by the staff of the power companies. Therefore, before applying for individual meters, tenants of sub-divided units should identify suitable locations in the common areas of the buildings for installing meters and obtain the consent of building management for the allocation of space for meter installation.
The Hongkong Electric has launched an SDU (subdivided unit) Rewiring Subsidy Programme subsidizing eligible households in subdivided units to rewire and install individual tariff meters. The applicant shall obtain the prior consent of every household in the flat, the owner of the flat and the Building Owners’ Corporations. Meanwhile, the CLP Power has released a similar scheme for owners as applicants. For details, please visit their websites:
As regards installation of water meters, if the relevant unit has a proper postal address to ensure that letters from the Water Supplies Department (WSD) such as notices and water bills can be posted to the occupier, the occupier may apply for a separate water meter from the WSD. The following factors will also be taken into account by the WSD when processing the applications:
- Whether the premises can be accessed without passing through any area occupied by others to ensure that the Water Authority can enter the premises directly for inspection or carrying out other relevant duties in case of any problem of the inside service;
- Whether the premises have proper drainage systems to ensure that no flooding will occur in case of inside service fault; and
- Whether the application satisfies the requirements of the Waterworks Ordinance. For example, the applicant is required to accept responsibility for the custody and maintenance of inside service, and submit the plumbing proposal in respect of the inside service etc.
Landlords or tenants may also consider applying to the WSD for the installation of separate water meters for sub-divided units to enable tenants to pay water charges based on their water consumption.
For subdivided units which have separate plumbing systems for individual units installed, the landlord can apply for a pilot scheme with streamlined procedures to facilitate the installation of the WSD’s water meter. After approval, water supplied to individual subdivided units will be charged according to the schedule for domestic consumers as stipulated in the Waterworks Regulations. For more details, please visit the WSD webpage on Pilot Scheme for Installation of Separate Water Meters for Subdivided Units.