What Does a Meter Reader Do? (With Skills and Duties)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 25 November 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Meter readers inspect and maintain gas, electric, water or steam meters. Their responsibility is to ensure the billings are correct. Understanding the duties and responsibilities of a meter reader can help you decide whether this is the right career option for you. In this article, we find the answer to, “What does a meter reader do?”, and explore the essential skills and steps to become a meter reader.

What Does A Meter Reader Do?

To understand the answer to, "What does a meter reader do?", it's best to review their job duties. Meter readers issue accurate bills for the utility companies. They determine if there is an issue with the meters or the connections and report it to further authorities. It is a meter reader's job to connect and disconnect utility services at specific locations.

Here are the duties and responsibilities of a meter reader:

  • Read electric or other meters and enter collected information into a handheld notebook and then in the computer.

  • Install meters at new locations and make sure they are set to zero before using them.

  • Turn utility services on and off in case of outstanding payments.

  • Verify readings if there are abnormal readings, find errors and fix them.

  • Answer customers' questions or refer them to customer service experts when needed.

  • Update the address of clients, meter status and meter locations in the company's directory.

  • Work in residential or commercial areas depending on the demands and number of utility connections in the area.

  • Inform the company personnel in case meters require any technical corrections.

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How To Become A Meter Reader?

Here are the 5 steps to becoming a meter reader:

1. Earn high-school diploma degree

Having a high school diploma degree can give you an extra edge over other candidates in the hiring process. Many candidates start their careers as meter readers without pursuing any degree. Candidates with a high-school diploma degree can apply for entry-level jobs.

2. Get a driver's license

During the hiring process, many employers look for a candidate's driving license as the job of a meter reader requires them to drive from one place to another. A clean driving record can be as important as getting a driver's license. Driving to different locations is a part of the daily responsibilities of meter readers.

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3. Explore training options

Doing internships or relevant training on how to use, read and record meter readings can help meter readers in the hiring process. The training allows candidates to learn about how to use electronic equipment to input and collect reading data. You may pursue a certification course that includes training options.

4. Create a resume

Create a resume that showcases your skills, previous work experience and educational details. Research and gather information about the company you are going to apply for a meter reader's job. Make sure your contact details are clear in your portfolio as recruiters may use them for contacting you. You can also mention your soft and hard skills.

5. Apply for jobs

Search for the available meter reading jobs in your area and online platforms. Researching and gathering information about the company can help you decide whether you are a suitable candidate for it and the company matches your requirements. Meter readers can modify and update their resumes according to the job posting.

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Skills For A Meter Reader

Here are 5 essential skills for a meter reader:

1. Meter operation

It is very important for a meter reader to have an understanding of meter readings and how they work. The job of meter readers involves installing and maintaining meters. You can learn skills in troubleshooting and maintenance of meters. Meter operation skills help them to resolve any functional issue of the meter.

2. Written communication

Meter readers visit the location for reading meters and enter the information into their notebook or handheld device. Written communication plays an important role in a meter reader's day-to-day work. They use written communication skills for identifying errors in meters and submitting the information to the supervisor.

3. Communication skills

A meter reader frequently provides customer services in the field which requires dealing with questions with satisfactory answers. They may require reacting calmly and professionally to customer emotions, which make good communication and understanding skills essential for this role. Good negotiation skills are also beneficial to control different situations.

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5. Physical fitness

A meter reader may require visiting different places to take readings in all weather conditions. So, taking care of physical fitness is important as the day-to-day work of meter readers involves standing, walking, lifting and bending. Eating healthy food along with a few exercises to increase their physical endurance can be useful.

6. Observation skills

Observational skills allow meter readers to identify if there are some modifications to the meter for unauthorised use. It is a meter reader's job to take care of the meters and find irregularities and report it to the company. Meter readers also identify faults that can increase utility usage.

The Average Salary Of A Meter Reader

The average salary of a meter reader is ₹1,88,762 per year. This salary may vary depending on the skills and experience of a meter reader. They can also earn more by working longer hours. The salary of meter readers also depends on their job location. For example, the average salary of a meter reader in Delhi is ₹1,95,144 per year. The average salary of a meter reader in Sonipat, Haryana is ₹2,16,585 per year

Jobs Related To Meter Readers

Here are 4 related job roles with primary duties and national average salaries:

1. Utility operator

National average salary: ₹15,887 per month

Primary duties: Utility operators operate and maintain water and gas distribution systems. They perform routine maintenance checks on vehicles and equipment in sewer lines. Utility operators are also responsible for assisting in the preparation of work sites. They may also perform routine service work and maintain sanitary, water and storm-water pumping stations.

Read more: What Are Career Opportunities And How To Choose The Right One

2. Plant operator

National average salary: ₹16,583 per month

Primary duties: Plant operators operate heavy equipment and machinery in the industrial and manufacturing processes. Their day-to-day work involves excavating and transporting materials. Plant operators work according to the instructions and ensure the machinery is operating correctly. They are responsible for overseeing plant operations and troubleshooting any issues. Plant operators are also for general maintenance and housekeeping tasks.

3. Water project manager

National average salary: ₹35,194 per month

Primary duties: Water project managers are responsible for managing and assisting the infrastructure team in carrying out projects. They build a team and execute water project management work plans. Water project managers guide their team members and ensure they adhere to the quality standards of the project. They understand scientific techniques and support water management and infrastructure program.

4. Electrician

National average salary: ₹14,027 per month

Primary duties: Electricians are responsible for installing, repairing and maintaining the electrical appliances and outlets. They troubleshoot and repair issues in electrical equipment in houses and offices. Electricians also use blueprints and plan the layout of electrical installations. They inspect electrical equipment and installations and make sure they are working safely.

Read more: What Does An Electrician Do? (Plus How To Become One)

Frequently Asked Questions About A meter reader

Here are the answers to some common questions that can help you start your career as a meter reader:

How can meter readers advance their careers?

Meter readers can advance their careers and earn a managerial position within the utility company. The experience they gain working with meters in the industry can help them advance their career. Meter readers can also prepare themselves to be technicians or journeyman electricians.

How often do meter readers complete their routes?

Many companies read meters every month and issue utility bills. The schedule of meter readers may vary depending on the weather conditions and routes. Usually, they read each meter once a month.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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