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Energy Solutions Center Inc.

400 N. Capitol St., NW 4th Floor
Washington, DC 20001

Voice 202-824-7152
E-mail dweiss@escenter.org

 

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Executive Interview Chad Hathaway, President of Relms

1.   What are the primary markets for the Sub metering technology?

Commercial markets and residential markets are great for submetering. Commercial markets often don’t know how much it costs to run certain equipment and don’t know a true cost of goods. Residential markets- particularly high rises are great for sub metering. Many builders don’t like the expense of having to run individual gas/ water lines to each unit from a low level area where utilities must have permission to be. The cost, as well as the space, often makes running pipes expensive and bulky. Submetering can eliminate many of these issues and still allow consumers the opportunity to use gas in their homes and pay only for what they use. Retrofit is also a great place to meter. Many old buildings were built without meters and are very inefficient. Submetering can allow for those inefficiencies to be located and corrected.

2.   Tell us about your existing product offering:

      Gas meters, Water meters, BTU meters, special application metering.

a.    Size ranges: We have meters that run from small residential submeter grade to large commercial utility grade meters.

b.    Efficiencies: Submetering allows for consumers to pay for what they use and also see what they use allowing for leaks and large users to know what they use, which will allow them to conserve. Without metering many consumers don’t realize how much they use/ waste until they are metered then usages usually drop by up to 30%.

c.     Best market applications- Anywhere sub metering is allowed by law.

d.    Approximately how many do you sell per year? Cannot disclose.

3.   What are the competitive advantages of your product compared to other Submetering technologies?

Relms uses the proven methods of Submetering and will work with customers as individuals. Each file is built for the property/ consumer to fit their individual needs. We will also work with the utility providers to find incentives and savings for the consumers. Relms also offers warranties on meters so the builders/developers don’t have long term cost to replace/ repair meters down the road.

4.   Tell us about your new/newer products you are bringing to the market this year?

We have developed a small runtime meter that can be installed on furnaces that uses RF technology to transmit outside units. This allows for quick installs and inexpensive submetering option.

a.    What are the key benefits of these new products( above)

b.    Any specific target market you plan to pursue with these new products.

We are expanding to many national markets and have been working with Canadian utilities to expand into the international market.

5.   Can your product(s) reduce impacts on the environment and, if so, how?

Many of our customers see reduction of utility usage by up to 30% by eliminating waste. This savings alone, especially in water, can reduce the impact on the environment. The savings don’t stop there the reduction of piping production can save substantially as well.

6.   What misconceptions do you deal with when talking to potential customers about your product?  

Many consumers don’t understand the legal side of submetering. Can they do it and what are the benefits/risks. We work with consumers to answer all their questions and do our research in new markets before meeting with the customer. After working with customers for years they often refer back to our initial meeting with comments like, "You were right, I wish we had started this way in the first place."

7.   Who is your direct customer?

Our direct customers are primarily property/homeowners, a contractor or a distributor, and why? Property owners/ developers are primary customers in the residential market. They are the ones that see the initial impact on the bottom line. Then it transitions to the renters as they are the final consumers.

The commercial market is a lot in the area of large manufacturers and high volume restaurants. They get the opportunity to evaluate their processes to save money down the road.

8.   What are your corporate strategies to communicate with and educate potential customers about your products? 

Work with each customer as an individual. Look at their circumstance and give them the best evaluation before they spend any money. This allows them to make a good choice for them. Many people think that properties are the same but after more than 30 years in the industry we understand what will work and what will not. Sometimes the savings of a dollar will cost a lot more later and we will try to tell the customer about many of these before they make a decision.

9.   What are the market barriers to greater deployment of your product?

Legal restrictions. There are regions where submetering is not allowed in full but often we can find other utilities that can be submetered.

10. What could gas utilities do to promote the deployment and acceptance of your product?

Work with us and the utility commission to allow submetering where utilities cannot meter or may lose the load all together. Many builders are going to all electric metering instead of allowing the benefits of gas to be used. We like to work with the utilities in scenarios where we may say this is a better application for the utility to meter and some were it may be better for us to meter and the utility to use a central meter. Working closely with utilities has benefited both the utility and the Relms in the past and we love to continue doing so.


 
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