Utilities Meter Readers

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

ABOUT UTILITIES METER READER CAREERS
Video transcript

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.

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
Read meter and record consumption of electricity, gas, water, or steam.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
HIGH
Competition for this position
LOW
Communication with others
LOW
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
LOW
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
HIGH
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
HIGH
Daily tasks

Update client address and meter location information.

Perform preventative maintenance or minor repairs on meters.

Inspect meters for unauthorized connections, defects, and damage, such as broken seals.

Walk or drive vehicles along established routes to take readings of meter dials.

Leave messages to arrange different times to read meters in cases in which meters are not accessible.

Report to service departments any problems, such as meter irregularities, damaged equipment, or impediments to meter access, including dogs.

Verify readings in cases where consumption appears to be abnormal, and record possible reasons for fluctuations.

Connect and disconnect utility services at specific locations.

Upload into office computers all information collected on hand-held computers during meter rounds, or return route books or hand-held 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.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
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.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
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
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.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Mechanical Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
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.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
TOP SKILLS
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.
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Operation Monitoring Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.