Submetering in California: A Comprehensive Guide

Guide to California Submetering: Navigating Regulations, Testing, and Installation.

Navigating the complexities of submetering regulations in California can be a daunting task. In this blog post, we will break down the essential requirements and processes involved in ensuring that your submetering setup complies with California's stringent standards.

1. Meter Approval and Certification

  • NTEP Approval: Meters used in California must be NTEP approved and listed on the state's approved list.
  • Testing by CA Weights & Measures: Each meter must undergo individual testing and approval by the California Weights & Measures (CA W&M).
  • Testing Center Selection: Meters are to be shipped to the CA W&M Testing Center of the customer's choice. This can be any county in California, although lead times may vary.

2. Testing and Paperwork

  • Customer Responsibilities: Customers are responsible for establishing testing paperwork and bearing the cost of testing services.
  • Meter Pickup and Shipping: Post-testing, meters must be picked up by the customer or shipped by CA W&M to the jobsite.
  • Meter Registration: CA W&M requires meters to be registered to a specific location, usually the complex address.
  • Shipping Precautions: Meters should not be shipped to CA W&M with electronic components attached.

3. Legal References

  • Business and Professions Code:12501.1: This code mandates the sealing of weights or measures used for commercial purposes.

4. Meter Installation and Reading

  • Visibility and Accessibility: Meter readings must be visible from an unobstructed standing space, either directly or via a Wired Reader.
  • Wired Reader Installation: If meters are not easily readable, a Wired Reader must be installed at an accessible location.

5. California Code of Regulation Compliance

  • Space Requirements for Meter Reading: A specific unobstructed space is required for reading meters, as outlined in California Code of Regulation Title 4, Division 9 Section 3.36.UR.2.

6. Water Meter Installation

  • Service Agent Requirement: Water meters must be installed by a CA W&M certified Service Agent.
  • Placed in Service Report: A report must be submitted to W&M within 24 hours of meter installation.

7. Wired Reader Programming

  • Initial Meter Read (IMR): Wired Readers must be programmed with the IMR at installation.
  • Data Transmission: These devices also send data to the Wireless Submetering System for online reading.

8. Additional Notes

  • Water, Gas, & Electric Meters Testing Location: Can be tested in any county's CA W&M Office.


Compliance with California's submetering regulations is crucial for the successful and legal operation of metering systems. By following these guidelines and understanding the associated legal codes, customers can navigate the process with greater ease and confidence.

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