New electric meter + panel price quote?

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  #1  
Old 01-30-16, 11:36 AM
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New electric meter + panel price quote?

Hi all,

Recently the state of NJ stopped by my rental property and informed me that I need to install a new meter and panel for all the common areas of the home. I got a quote from a local electrician and they ballparked $3000 as the price for the fix. He said that he would need to install a new meter then move all the wires from the common areas from the other meters to the new meter.

Is this accurate? This is a 4 unit home with 4 electric meters.

I would fix this myself as I usually do, but this kind of electrical work is beyond my ken. $3000 is a bit too much for me right now. The only alternative now is to fight them on this, since I've passed state inspection since 1995 and no one has ever raised an issue regarding this.

Thanks in advance.
 
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  #2  
Old 01-30-16, 12:17 PM
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Nearly impossible to estimate jobs remotely like this. Best bet is to get three or more local bids so you can compare.
 
  #3  
Old 01-30-16, 12:20 PM
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No pun intended but a separate meter for common areas is common if the tenants pay their own electric bill. Otherwise you are forcing the tenants to pay for your expenses. Are you compensating them for the electric you are using? If not they could sue you.

You could start including the cost of electric in the rent and paying for all the electric meters yourself. If you don't want to do that them the new meter is probably your only option.

There is a third option but probably not acceptable. Start giving your tenants a discount on their rent for the amount of electric you are using but they would have to agree to that in writing and if they are not already aware of the situation expect blow back from the tenants.

$3000 is a very reasonable cost for installing a separate meter. (Your rent refunds to angry tenants may be even more if they find out what you have been doing.)
 
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Old 01-30-16, 12:34 PM
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How much of the load there could be considered landlord required ?
Definitely all outside lighting.
Common stairway/hallway lighting.
Garage lighting.
Laundry room including washer and dryer.

I don't see how you can fight them.
You could figure out the load and cost and then deduct it from the rents.

A lot is dependent on if these are just renters/strangers or people you actually know.
 
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Old 01-30-16, 02:38 PM
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Hi, my tenants are aware of this and they pay lower rent than other homes in the area. The only reason why I'm considering fighting them on this is because they've given me my green card for the home since well... forever.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't some kind of scam. I bought the home like this.

It really hasn't been an issue until they made a big deal out of it this time. I've spoken to the town officials and they have no problem with it either.
 
  #6  
Old 01-30-16, 03:40 PM
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Meters

I am reading the original post to mean that each tenant has their own meter, but each of the meters needs to be replaced per the state. Did I miss something?

I read it a third time and I think I am wrong. Ignore this post. Sorry.
 
  #7  
Old 01-30-16, 03:42 PM
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No.... the State is requesting a common/house meter. A 5th meter.
 
  #8  
Old 01-30-16, 07:03 PM
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I'm trying to figure out how much common area you really have. Are the 4 units but like townhouses side-by-side or is there a common foyer/stairway area? If it's for side-by-side townhouse units I really don't see that you have any common area. There should be outside lighting by each unit but that's the unit's responsibility and each one has his own laundry area that's their responsibility.
 
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Old 01-30-16, 08:10 PM
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I've spoken to the town officials and they have no problem with it either.
I know nothing of how things are in New Jersey, but have to ask how the state ever got involved? It sounds to me more like this should be a local issue. Could someone have complained? Still, I'd think a complaint would go to the city and not the state.
 
  #10  
Old 01-30-16, 08:51 PM
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No one reported anything, my tenants are happy as far as I know. There are state inspections every 5 years. The house has passed every single time since it was built in the 1970s, we have records of all of these inspections. I spoke to the city official and they almost acted like they were offended by the notion that they would "make" me install a 5th meter.

As far as common areas go, I don't have much space. This is a 4 unit home, 1 bedroom each with units 1 and 2 on the first and second floor and 3 and 4 on the first and second floor. 1/2 are accessed by one door and 3/4 by another. The building shares 1 stairway into it.

Based on what I understand they install a new meter and then they find the wires going to the common areas and then rewire those into the new common meter(5th meter). I don't even know how much the meter itself would cost... so I hoped I could get a ballpark as far as how much I would have to spend.

I suppose this is "my fault" but my budget did not anticipate that the state would fail my inspection on this.
 
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Old 01-30-16, 09:45 PM
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If all four meters are side by side and the house loads are on separate breakers in each box then this might be DIY if you are allowed to pull a permit. If the house loads are mixed with non house loads on the same breaker then that would be trickier but probably still DIY doable but you might need to open a ceiling or run surface race.
 
  #12  
Old 01-31-16, 11:42 AM
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There are state inspections every 5 years
Am I correct to assume there is a published list of rules and regulations you must meet? I don't suppose there is a term such as "Grandfathered" that makes any difference? It sounds to me like unnecessary state government intrusion.
 
  #13  
Old 02-01-16, 08:02 AM
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I tend to a agree -- an entire landlord service for a couple hallway lights? I don't think I've ever seen that mandated in a building of that age. If it was a new build I could see it being required. Perhaps you need to consult with a legal expert in this area?

A single CFL bulb, burning 24/7 will only cost about $15 per year; $5-7 per year if it has a daylight sensor. Perhaps they would be satisfied if this discount was listed out as a line item on the rent contract?!?

At least in my state a service job on a 4 unit building could not be DIY, but the $3k quote sounds like a reasonable estimate for the work described. Getting a couple bids and comparing is the best thing to do if you end up having to do this.
 
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