Any experience or advice sub-metering and billing from a private wire connection?

I previously posted a question about the possibility of using an Emon Pi for per house metering in an in-construction Cohousing project: EmonPi for Cohousing project?

Fast forward to summer 2020 and the 29 house project is being built! The info coming from the previous thread suggested that Emon Pi may not be the best solution. So I’m asking here in case anyone has any more up-to-date advice on best practice, or at least what to avoid, when exploring options for logging and billing on a per house basis. As mentioned Orsis are recommended by the contractors but that would cost ~£1k/year and apparently is incompatible with SMETS2 for reasons I don’t quite understand. As co-housing member Bill put it:

Orsis are set up to handle sub-metering for landlords and organisations that already have a fiscal meter for their incoming supply and who want to be able to reclaim costs from their various tenants/departments. In most instances, the sub-meters have no reason to communicate either with the company supplying the electricity or the Government’s newly established Data Communications Company (DCC).

Even if were able to find a company supplying a sub-meter billing service that worked with the latest (SMETS2) Smart Meters (which could well be more expensive), we’d still have to register as a DCC user in order to access the data. No idea how feasible that is for anyone who’s not an energy supplier.

I know this may be somewhat off topic compared with this community’s focus on Emon Pi’s and associated hardware/software but I know there is lots of expertise in the community, and any knowledge of what works and advice would be very much appreciated. Many thanks in advance to everyone involved in free and open energy monitoring!

I’m probably being very silly, but what is the requirement for sub-metering?

I though cohousing was about building a number of independent housing units that had some shared facilities, such as guest quarters and communal dining facilities. So I’d have expected each housing unit to have an independent electricity supply and the shared facilities to have another independent supply. Specifically, I’d have thought the rules about permitting freedom of choice of supplier meant every housing unit had to have its own revenue meter?

We need sub-metering because electricity will come onto the site in a ‘private wire’. We need to monitor use of each house (and electricity generation from the PV) to charge householders. Does that make sense @djh?

Heads-up @Ben_Aylott who was an author of an excellent report on the subject in relation to Lancaster Cohousing (Atkinson et al. 2018).


Atkinson, J., Aylott, B., Sidwell, A., Fawcett, M., Alonso Gabinzon, C., 2018. Demonstration activities Manchester demo site (No. D15.3). Carbon Cooperative.

You need to be careful of legal implications I suspect. I think you can buy actual meters.