Understanding Utilities

Whether an experienced apartment resident, or first time, understanding strata development utilities can be complicated. The information contained here is provided as a guide to understanding your utilities within Precinct.

General

Strata developers contract deals with third parties to keep costs down for owners and tenants, to remove liability and complications from owners corporations by ensuring essential utilities are effectively available to all residents by law and managed by specialist companies, regardless of owners corporation funds availability.

Power

Active Utilities are a private strata supplier of power and telecommunications, they own, manage and repair all power facilities within Precinct common areas. As such, all apartment meters are privately owned by Active Utilities and subsequently connected to their network. Your apartment will not have a National Meter Identifier (NMI) because it is a private meter.

As a result of this agreement, Active Utilities provide bulk discount rates to all apartments. You’re financially better to receive your power through Active Utilities than any other provider, as they’re providing all Precinct residents several cents lower than the lowest competitor in this field.

You will have an additional charge on your electricity bill, being a daily line rental fee. As outlined, this is a private network which Active Utilities must repair and maintain electricity to the door of each apartment. This is what this fee is for–future line and equipment repair.

You can, if you wish to pay more for your electricity, employ an electrician to change your meter and register for an NMI, thus allowing you to connect to any provider in the market. You will still receive a daily line rental charge from Active Utilities, as they own the lines and must maintain them. Not only will you pay more per kWh, you will still pay line rental.

You’re getting the best deal possible using bulk buying through Active Utilities.

Yes, you still get concession discounts on your power, the only difference is that because the network is privately owned you must submit your costs at the end of each financial year, where you will be refunded any concession once per annum after the fact.

Gas Hot Water

Origin Energy is the provider for all Precinct natural gas services. You cannot choose anyone else, as this falls under specific strata legislation allowing a single provider to maintain a strata development for ease of future maintenance, whilst similarly as power, provide a bulk discount to all residents for being the chosen provider.

Residents only pay for the gas to heat their hot water, as the owners corporation pays for all stove top gas and the water used in the hot water system, and the bill will confuse people due to the terminology used.

Simply, Origin buy the water from City West who then charge the owners corporation. Each resident pays for the gas to heat the water they use. Each owner pays the water as part of their annual OC fee’s based on their apartment size. Tenants are paying this via their rent.

All hot water in Precinct is via an instant system external to apartments, located on your buildings roof. The instant systems are referred to as a “cooktop” by Origin. Outside every apartment, within the roof hatch, is a flow control valve which measures how much hot water you use.

You will see two charges on your bill, one is a rental charge for parts of the system that Origin are liable to replace in order to maintain hot water to the complex. In other words, the more hot water you use, the more you pay because the lifespan of the unit is deteriorating faster. The second cost, the largest cost, will be the actual gas you use measured in how many litres of water you flow through their system. In other words, they have a calculation on how much gas is used to heat one litre of water, thus how many litres of water flow through your hot water system, you pay x for the gas usage.

As apartments use mixers on most taps, it is in your best interest to ensure your mixer is fully around to cold when using cold water only. Many people leave a mixer in the middle, which means every time you turn on your tap–say to wash your hands–you’re paying for hot water to be heated and sent towards your tap, regardless whether it makes it there due to how long you run your water.

Gas Kitchen Cooktop

This gas is encompassed as part of your owners corporation charges, or rent for tenants, as it is housed on its own gas main.

Phone / Internet

Precinct is wired with standard telecommunication lines for Strata development, which allows residents to obtain phone and Internet services through any provider they choose. There are issues with this due to the area and local exchanges over-loaded with ADSL2 connections, leaving less than acceptable Internet connection available, i.e. ADSL 1 speeds. Don’t despair, solutions are here.

When Precinct was built, unfortunately the NBN Co. rejected the developers application for installation because the project had commenced. NBN Co. made a wire available after the fact. Not the developers fault.

So, to rectify the issue and provide residents with high speed Internet, Active Utilities installed a VDSL system within Precinct allowing residents to have speeds up-to 100 Mbps, the same as offered by the NBN. Active Utilities plans are reasonable when compared with similar market offers.

Spirit Telecom installed their UFi fibre optic services within Precinct (private fibre network). Spirit offerings are impressive in performance and price, and offer from 25 / 25 Mbps to 200 / 200 Mbps, unlimited data, and home phone if needed. Spirit plans can be contracted for zero installation, or paid installation with no contract term.

TPG installed their FTTB (Fibre To The Building) system, making available an alternative NBN fibre service (private fibre network). TPG offer up-to 90Mbps down / 20Mbps up on their largest plan, with unlimited data and phone if required. TPG plans can be contracted for zero installation, or paid installation with no contract term.

Water

Your water is connected through City West, as standard for connection / disconnection per resident.