Plumbing and HVAC Expert Witness Russell Keeler of Chason Energy commented on utility cost allocations
A common problem in mixed use developments (residential, retail, etc.) is the allocation of utility costs. As developers try to minimize first costs of construction, the simple answer is to make the complex all-electric, so that each condo owner has an individual electric meter. In higher end developments, this becomes a problem, as all electric is perceived as “lower end”. A common solution is to use central gas fired hot water heat with gas appliances, with separate gas meters. But…what to do about allocating heating costs? Generally, natural gas costs are proportioned based on the design engineer’s estimate. In a case where tenants dispute the allocation, additional calculations to verify the original allocations can be made, with a possible recommendation to add a series meters to more accurately assign costs.