The majority of strata titled properties in Western Australia are set up to monitor and measure electricity using a multi master network. This is where a strata / survey-strata scheme has lots that are individually metered for their electricity. Lot owners in a multi master network are buying electricity directly from a retail supplier (Synergy) and will usually be paying higher retail electricity supply rates.
Embedded networks create a privately-owned electricity network that supplies all lots within a strata complex. The Strata Company can therefore have a contract with the energy retailer, negotiate better prices and alleviate the costs of individual systems and complications that arise with them.
There are many interesting things that can be included in this space between the parent meter and the sub-meter connecting the lot. This is where the solar, batteries and electric vehicle stations are all set up, avoiding the headaches created with individual systems. It also will allow for future advances in technology to be incorporated into the community with ease, ensuring our strata company can remain at the forefront. Becoming an engaged community that the owners can be proud to be a part of and attract residents seeking modern amenities.
A key advantage of having one master meter connection to the grid means the strata community has access to alternative energy retailers, other than Synergy. Once the strata community is dealing with the energy supply on behalf of multiple owners, they have the ability to negotiate cheaper electricity prices compared to a single resident.
Image sourced from: https://ap2u.com.au/embedded-networks-explained/
Why Should I consider Embedded Networks
While the cheaper power supply is a clear advantage for those occupying the premise, there are also advantages that benefit the strata company as a whole even if the majority of residents are tenants.
Initially, it may appear that establishing this system contributes towards increasing levies and strata related costs. However, the power generated and purchased at a discount by the strata company will provide an additional revenue stream. This is achieved by continuing to charge residents up to the rates that synergy charged. The strata company is then able to use the difference between the cost of the bulk power and the charge to the resident as additional income to either reduce owner levies or fund additional strata expenses depending on the needs of a complex.
While this seems to be a relatively risk-free approach to sustainable practices it is not without its complications. Lack of understanding entering embedded networks can be one of the biggest shortfalls as owners enter complex contracts with energy providers leading to situations that see owners regretting the restrictions they have locked themselves into. This highlights the importance that the embedded network manager be very carefully chosen, working in partnership with the Strata Manager, will see these risks reduced. Having strata managers who have taken the time to also investigate this and provide independent guidance and a long term vested interest in the strata company’s success will provide the greatest opportunities for successful integration.
To maximise energy-saving benefits in a strata community, one of the first steps is to ensure the property is running off the one main master meter. This is simple when the strata plan was designed this way, but there are plans that have been designed with each lot having an independent meter with synergy and not recognized as a community in common. These strata companies require careful considerations from the owners to decide if they wish to manage their power with a system that allows the property to maximize efficiency. These considerations may be the need to share roof space for solar facilities or signing up to an energy trading plan to reduce the cost of the electricity supply. It can be well worth the time spent considering these options and converting a complex to a master meter and establishing an Embedded Network.