Meter Readers, Utilities

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Also known as:  Electric Meter Reader, Gas Meter Reader, Water Meter Reader

ABOUT UTILITIES METER READER CAREERS

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT Expand
Homes and businesses use utilities such as electric, gas, and water. Consumption is tracked by meters. The people responsible for monitoring usage are utilities meter readers. While their main function is to record the amount used to ensure accurate billing, they also look for unusual fluctuations.< ...
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Meter readers inspect the units for damage, sending reports back to the home office to order repairs. They also check for unauthorized connections. Meter readers can turn off service for suspected tampering or for unpaid bills. Handheld microcomputers are often used to speed the job and increase accuracy. Readers may be responsible for downloading data and reviewing the repots before they're sent for billing.

Many people see these workers as the public faces of the utility company. They wear uniforms and carry I.D. and tend to work alone. Readers are outdoors in all kinds of weather. The physical demands include a lot of walking and stair climbing. It's not uncommon for meter readers to be menaced, chased, or even attacked by overprotective dogs.

A high school education or its equivalent is expected of new hires. Some public utilities require that you be at least 21 years of age and a licensed driver, and pass a drug test, and background test. You may start out as a part-time worker and train with a more experienced reader.

In many areas, meter readers are members of a utility workers' union. As automated meter reading systems are phased in across the country, the traditional role of meter readers is changing. Many opt for additional training to advance to higher-level technical or service positions.
SNAPSHOT Expand
Read meter and record consumption of electricity, gas, water, or steam.
Leadership
LOW
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
LOW
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
LOW
Communication with others
LOW
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
LOW
Comfort of the work setting
LOW
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
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DAILY TASKS Expand
Report to service departments any problems such as meter irregularities, damaged equipment, or impediments to meter access, including dogs.
Update client address and meter location information.
Verify readings in cases where consumption appears to be abnormal, and record possible reasons for fluctuations.
Inspect meters for unauthorized connections, defects, and damage such as broken seals.
Upload into office computers all information collected on hand-held computers during meter rounds, or return route books or hand-hand computers to business offices so that data can be compiled.
Answer customers' questions about services and charges, or direct them to customer service centers.
Read electric, gas, water, or steam consumption meters and enter data in route books or hand-held computers.
Walk or drive vehicles along established routes to take readings of meter dials.
MAIN ACTIVITIES Expand
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE Expand
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Transportation Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
KEY ABILITIES Expand
Near Vision The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Speech Recognition The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Multilimb Coordination The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
Speech Clarity The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Control Precision The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Oral Comprehension The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Information Ordering The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Oral Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
TOP SKILLS Expand
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Operation Monitoring Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
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