Meter readers visit all kinds of premises, including homes, offices, shops and factories, to collect information (readings) from electricity, gas, and in England and Wales, water meters.
You could be:
- driving or walking around the area in which you read meters
- walking round buildings to check outside meters or entering buildings to check inside ones
- taking readings by noting the numbers on the dials of the meter
- recording the figures by keying them into a handheld computer
- planning your own workload and meeting targets for the numbers of meters read
- checking meters to make sure that they are working properly
- reporting faulty or broken meters so that they can be repaired or replaced
- answering routine questions from customers
- downloading the data collected on the handheld computer to the main system.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
- where you work
- the size of the company or organisation you work for
- the demand for the job.
Meter Readers can earn between £9.25 - £10.25 an hour. You can earn extra through overtime and bonuses. Bonuses are usually based on the number of meters read each week. Some employers provide a uniform or an allowance for outdoor clothes. You would also usually get a mileage allowance.
- You would work on your own most of the time.
- You might have to cover a fairly large area and as well as driving you would walk a number of miles, possibly up to 8 a day.
- You will have to work in all types of weather.
- You would have to carry identification at all times.
- You would usually wear a uniform and be provided with personal protective equipment.
- You would normally work 40-45 hours a week, which usually includes early evenings and Saturdays.
- You might have to lift up heavy covers and bend, stretch or kneel to access some meters.
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- You do not need formal qualifications but a good general education is useful.
- You may need to do a role play exercise and data checking test as well as an interview.
- You need a full driving licence and, often your own transport.
- For some vacancies you must have a landline phone to connect a handheld computer.
- You need a good knowledge of the area you are working in.
- You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
- This is an active job with climbing, lifting and bending. You need to be physically fit.
Most meter readers work for electricity or gas companies (or water companies in England and Wales), although others are employed by specialist firms who supply meters to those companies. You can look for vacancies through the Find a Job website or Jobcentre Plus offices.
Workforce Education Levels (UK)
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What Does it Take?
You need to be:
- honest and reliable
- able to work on your own
- methodical and accurate – customers' bills depend on your readings and records
- able to use computer equipment
- able to work to timescales and prioritise your workload
You need to have:
- competency in literacy and numeracy
- common sense
- a pleasant, polite and co-operative manner
- a flexible approach to working hours and duties
- a smart appearance.
- Training is normally on the job by your employer and by working with an experienced meter reader.
- Training includes company’s services and prices, record keeping, dealing with customers and different types of meters.
- After gaining experience, you may be promoted to a supervisor post.
- You may become self-employed and work under contract to individual companies.
- You might train to become a meter installer.
Some industrial meter readings are now recorded automatically and these meters no longer need to be read. If this system becomes more widely used, the number of jobs for meter readers may decline. Also see Smart Energy Meter Fitter job profile.
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