A meter reader is sent to gather data for meters that cannot automatically, electronically report back their usage data to a company. Most meter readers enter usage data into a handheld computer device and also ensure the meter is in good working order. For any meters that seem damaged, they would report the issue. They often drive to meter locations and may walk as well.
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How to Become a Meter Reader
Meter readers are trained on-the-job and do not require any formal education. According to O*NET OnLine, over 70% of meter readers have a high school diploma almost 20% have taken some college courses but have not yet earned a degree, less than 10% have earned an associate’s degree. To become a meter reader, you’ll need to pass a drug test, background check, and hold a valid driver’s license. Since experience and education are not required, you would want to an application to convey that you are dependable, a hard worker, and perhaps have had a job that required some outdoor aspect to it.
Job Description of a Meter Reader
A meter reader records data from electric, water, gas, or steam meters. Meters that do not automatically report data back to the company electronically must be read by a person to record that data so the appropriate usage payments can be billed to the user. To do this, meter readers must visit site locations at office buildings, homes, and various outdoor locations. They may use a vehicle to go from location to location or walk if the meters are in close proximity from one another.
While they are at each meter, they would also do a visual inspection of the meter and check it for any damage or broken seals. They may also come across a meter that has an unauthorized connection. Such findings would be reported and investigated.
Meter Reader Career Video Transcript
Every time you turn on a light, cook food, or get water from a faucet, you are using a public utility. To track the use of utilities such as gas and electricity in both homes and businesses, usage meters are read and monitored by utilities meter readers. Besides recording resource usage on meters at residences and business locations, meter readers inspect the units for damage, order repairs, and check for unauthorized connections. They may turn off service for suspected tampering or unpaid bills.
Handheld microcomputers are often used to speed the job and increase accuracy for billing. Meter readers work outdoors in all kinds of weather and generally work alone. Physical demands of the job include a lot of walking and stair-climbing. Encounters with overprotective dogs are not uncommon either. A high school education or its equivalent is required.
Usually, meter readers need a driver’s license and must pass a drug test and background check. They may train with a more experienced reader. As more and more automated meter reading systems are phased in, meter reader positions are decreasing. But as long as utility meters need a personal inspection, meter readers will stay on the go to keep homes and organizations running.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Meter Readers, Utilities.
National Center for O*NET Development. 43-5041.00. O*NET OnLine.
The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.