Meter Readers, Utilities
- Employment is expected to decline, as a result of new automated
meter reading (AMR) systems that allow meters to be monitored
and billed from a central point.
- Most meter readers are employed by electric, gas, or water
utilities or by local governments.
Meter readers read electric, gas, water, or steam consumption
meters and record the volume used. They serve both residential
and commercial consumers, either walking or driving along a designated
route. Their duties include inspecting the meters and their connections
for any defects or damage, supplying repair and maintenance workers
with the necessary information to fix damaged meters, keeping
track of the average usage, and recording reasons for any extreme
fluctuations in volume.
Meter readers are constantly aware of any abnormal behavior or
consumption that might indicate an unauthorized connection. They
may turn off service for questionable behavior or nonpayment of
charges, and they also are responsible for turning on service
for new occupants. These workers usually keep records showing
that the meters on which they have completed work have been serviced.
Meter readers, who usually work 40 hours a week, work outdoors
in all types of weather as they travel through communities and
neighborhoods taking readings. The typical workweek is Monday
|Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement
Many meter readers are at the entry level and do not require
more than a high school diploma. Employers, however, prefer to
hire those familiar with computers and other electronic office
and business equipment. Typing, recordkeeping, and other clerical
skills also are important.
Utility meter readers usually work with a more experienced meter
reader until they feel comfortable doing the job on their own.
They learn how to read the meters and determine the consumption
rate. They also must learn the route that they need to travel
to read all their customers’ meters.
Advancement opportunities for meter readers vary with the place
Meter readers held about 50,000 jobs in 2004. About 44 percent
were employed by electric, gas, and water utilities. Most of the
rest were employed in local government, reading water meters or
meters for other government-owned utilities.
Employment of meter readers is expected to decline through 2014.
New AMR systems allow meters to be monitored and billed from a
central point, reducing the need for meter readers. However, because
it will be many years before AMR systems can be implemented in
all locations, there still will be some openings for meter readers,
mainly to replace workers leaving the occupation.
Median annual earnings of utility meter readers in May 2004 were
$29,440. The middle 50 percent earned between $23,000 and $38,890.
The lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,550, and the highest
10 percent earned more than $47,830.
These workers usually receive the same benefits as most other
workers. If uniforms are required, employers generally provide
them or offer an allowance to purchase them.
Other workers responsible for the distribution and control of
utilities include power plant operators, distributors, and dispatchers.
|Sources of Additional
Information about job opportunities may be obtained from local
employers and local offices of the State employment service.
of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational
Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition