Western Power and Service Stream are encouraging residents to be mindful of meter reader and meter replacement crew safety as this will ensure a more streamlined service and accurate readings for homes and businesses.
More than 20,000 meters are read by Service Stream officers each day across the network and while the majority are read without any issues, there are occurrences where meter readers and replacement crews are abused, encounter aggressive dogs or have access restricted.
Western Power Meter Data Manager Aaron Bowling said accurate and timely meter readings and efficient meter replacements were a priority for the business and its service commitment to the community but there are things people could do to help.
“Service Stream officers carry out meter reading and meter replacements on behalf of Western Power and it’s important that they are able to carry out their jobs safely to ensure our customers get efficient service and bills based on actual reads,” he said.
“Meter readers and replacement crews follow strict protocols when entering people’s properties. If they are unable to access a property or a meter, they’ll leave a skipped read card which will state why they needed to skip the property.
“Reasons for this may be that access is only achievable through a neighbouring property, or the meter box is fitted with a private lock or behind a fence or locked gates, hindering access.
“If there is a dog on the property or a dog warning sign on the gate, they will not enter even if the dog is friendly.
“In other cases, the meter may be obstructed by trees, shrubs and gardens.”
Mr Bowling said Western Power’s meter reading processes varied slightly depending on the customer and the type of meter, it can be self-read or carried out by Service Stream either monthly or bimonthly.
Once the read is taken, the meter reader will upload the reading to the Western Power system, which validates against the property’ previous history of consumption.
If the reading doesn’t validate, we may need to substitute a reading based on estimation rules outlined in Section 12 of the Metrology Procedure for Metering Installations on the Western Power Network.
We then send the validated data to the relevant retailer, following which the retailer bills accordingly.
Service Stream said recent examples of incidents that impeded access to replacements or meter reading included field officers being threatened with broken glass and verbal abuse; dogs charging at meter readers when approaching a property with an open front yard; and being threatened to have large dogs released if meter readers didn’t leave immediately.