Occupation Profile for Meter Readers, Utilities

Read meter and record consumption of electricity, gas, water, or steam.

 
 

Significant Points

  • Meter reading is one of the fastest-declining occupations, as a result of 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.
  • Many workers begin working as meter readers and advance to lineman, power plant operator, or dispatcher jobs.

 

 
 
Overview
$30,330.00 Median Annual Wage 1,000 Average Job Openings Per Year
2.2 Average Unemployment Percentage 49.5 Percentage That Completed High School
47,000 Employment Numbers in 2006 44.7 Percentage That Had Some College
42,000 Employment Numbers in 2016 (est.) 5.9 Percentage That Went Beyond College Degree

Sample Job Titles
Customer Field Representative
Electric Meter Reader
Field Technician
Fieldman
Gas Meter Reader
Meter Reader
Meter Reader Inspector
Meter Reading Clerk
Meter Record Clerk
Meterman
Steam Meter Reader
Utility Service Worker
Water Inspector
Water Meter Reader
Water Service Inspector
Water Service Operator

Training
  • These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include sheet metal workers, forest fire fighters, customer service representatives, pharmacy technicians, salespersons (retail), and tellers.
  • These occupations usually require a high school diploma and may require some vocational training or job-related course work. In some cases, an associate's or bachelor's degree could be needed.
  • Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience may be helpful in these occupations, but usually is not needed. For example, a teller might benefit from experience working directly with the public, but an inexperienced person could still learn to be a teller with little difficulty.
  • Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees.

Meter readers are entry-level utility employees. Many people start utility careers in this occupation with the goal of advancing to more responsible positions.

Education and training. Most employers prefer to hire workers who have a high school diploma. Until they demonstrate an ability to work alone, inexperienced meter readers usually work with more experienced ones. They learn how to read meters and determine consumption rates on the job and they must also learn the route that they need to travel.

Other qualifications. No experience is required for this position, but employers prefer to hire those familiar with computers and other electronic office and business equipment. Because routes may change, it is important for readers to be able to understand maps. Typing, recordkeeping and other clerical skills are also useful.

Advancement. Meter reading is generally considered an entry-level occupation. Many people start working as meter readers and move up to higher positions in the metering department. Others move on to other positions within the utility, such as dispatcher or distributor. They may also become apprentices to more skilled positions, such as lineman or electrician.

Nature of Work

Meter readers read electric, gas, water, or steam consumption meters and record the volume used. They serve both residential and commercial consumers. The basic duty of a meter reader is to walk or drive along a route and read customers’ consumption from a tracking device. Accuracy is the most important part of the job, as companies rely on readers to provide the information they need to bill their customers.

Other 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. They keep track of customers’ average usage and record 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 on service for new occupants and turn off service for questionable behavior or nonpayment of charges.

Work environment. Meter readers work outdoors in all types of weather as they travel through communities and neighborhoods taking readings. Those traveling on foot may have to walk several miles a day. Dogs can pose a difficulty for meter readers, although they are generally given precautionary devices to help them avoid encounters. Meter readers generally work 40-hour weeks, although part-time positions are available. The typical workweek is Monday through Friday.

Related Occupations

Sources: Career Guide to Industries (CGI), Occupational Information Network (O*Net), Occupation Outlook Handbook (OOH)
Earnings

Median annual earnings of utility meter readers in May 2006 were $30,330. The middle 50 percent earned between $23,580 and $39,320. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,970, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $49,150. Employee benefits vary greatly between companies and may not be offered for part-time workers. If uniforms are required, employers generally provide them or offer an allowance to purchase them.

For the latest wage information:

The above wage data are from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey program, unless otherwise noted. For the latest National, State, and local earnings data, visit the following pages:

  • Meter readers, utilities
  • Job Outlook

    Despite declining employment, some job openings are expected during the 2006-16 decade.

    Employment change. Employment of meter readers is expected to decline by 10 percent through 2016. New AMR systems allow meters to be monitored and billed from a central point, reducing the need for meter readers.

    Job prospects. It will be many years before AMR systems can be implemented in all locations, so there still will be some openings for meter readers, mainly to replace workers leaving the occupation. The utilities industry is expecting a large number of retirements from its aging workforce, which should create many job opportunities.

    Employment

    Meter readers held about 47,000 jobs in 2006. About 42 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.

    Knowledge
    • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
    • Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
    • Sales and Marketing — Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
    • Medicine and Dentistry — Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
    • Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
    Skills
    • Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
    • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
    • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
    • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
    • Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
    Abilities
    • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
    • Stamina — The ability to exert yourself physically over long periods of time without getting winded or out of breath.
    • Explosive Strength — The ability to use short bursts of muscle force to propel oneself (as in jumping or sprinting), or to throw an object.
    • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
    • Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
    Tasks
    • Core — Report to service departments any problems such as meter irregularities, damaged equipment, or impediments to meter access, including dogs.
    • Core — Answer customers' questions about services and charges, or direct them to customer service centers.
    • Core — Update client address and meter location information.
    • Core — Leave messages to arrange different times to read meters in cases in which meters are not accessible.
    • Supplemental — Connect and disconnect utility services at specific locations.
    Activities
    • Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
    • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
    • Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
    • Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment — Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
    • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

    15 Meter Readers, Utility Jobs Found


    Oasis Staffing has partnered with electric utilitycompany, Westar Energy, to staff a part-time, long-term temporary Meter Readers. Individuals in t...
    - KS - Lawrence - posted 13 days ago
    Oasis Staffing has partnered with electric utilitycompany, Westar Energy, to staff a part-time, long-term temporary Meter Readers. Individuals in t...
    - KS - Emporia - posted 13 days ago
    Oasis Staffing has partnered with electric utilitycompany, Westar Energy, to staff long-term, temporary Meter Readers. Individuals in these positio...
    - KS - Manhattan - posted 13 days ago
    Oasis Staffing has partnered with electric utilitycompany, Westar Energy, to staff a part-time, long-term temporary Meter Readers. Individuals in t...
    - KS - Shawnee - posted 13 days ago
    Oasis Staffing has partnered with electric utilitycompany, Westar Energy, to staff a part-time, long-term temporary Meter Readerpositions in the Ft...
    - KS - Salina - posted 13 days ago
    OasisStaffing has partnered with electric utility company, Westar Energy, to staff apart-time, long-term temporary Meter Reader positions. Individu...
    Oasis Staffing - KS - Leavenworth - posted 13 days ago
    Oasis Staffing has partnered with electric utility company,Westar Energy, to staff a part-time, long-term temporary Meter Reader positions. Individ...
    Oasis Staffing - KS - Topeka - posted 20 days ago
    System One is actively seeking a Meter Reader for a contract position in Roswell, NM. Candidate will be responsible for accurate and timely manual ...
    System One - NM - Roswell - posted 7 days ago
    System One is actively seeking a Meter Reader for a contract position in Borger, TX. Candidate will be responsible for accurate and timely manual m...
    System One - TX - Borger - posted 8 days ago
    System One is actively seeking a Meter Reader for a contract position in Pampa, TX. Candidate will be responsible for accurate and timely manual me...
    System One - TX - Pampa - posted 16 days ago

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