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The 10 Worst Jobs of 2012: 7 - Meter Reader

Meter Reader

Monitors public utility meters, and records volume of consumption by customers.

  • Overall Score: 1545.00
  • Income: $35,171.00

  • Work Environment:
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Meter Reader

in Ontario you are paid .32 cents per meter and you are considered and independent contractor. No vacation pay, pension etc. Still the best jobbivebhad so far. I made just under $40k last year. Great job, I can't see it goin away any time soon due to Smart Meters. Not as easy as it looks by a country mile. I don't understand why people are so excited about a us being replace by technology. More job loss won't help any country. 


Meter Reader jobs in our country very tuff. Our company cannot provide transport facility in hard area i.e in desert and river bank area. our country is pakistan

water meter reader

We read water meters and encounter some of  the same problems. my employees seem to like  reading meters. An adventure everyday!



for 15 years which company?

PLease help me which company did you work for i have been reading meters for 15 years and one of the best. My company only do two raises and thats it. Do you know what other field is related to meter reading? your response would be very helpful thank you very much


That's good to hear!! I was wondering how you applied? Is it through agencies?? I'm curious because I Li e in southern California and I'm looking for a new Jon position!! Hope to hear from you soon :)

You might want to try water districts.

Electric meters are being replaced by automated meters, so there isn't a need for personell these days. 

I don't think some of these

I don't think some of these jobs are worst. Any kind of jobs have worst part or tasks.  But I suggest that a job that has complicated tasks should require white cards to their workers for safety reasons.

Meter Reader

Iam a meter reader in Kingston Jamaica WI and iam loving it apart from the bad dogs and some hostile customers, i look forward to going to work every day, because every day i learn and meet something and someone new, Iam a member of the J.P.S. team.


Since 2009 I have been in this industry. I was and still am working at the private companies that are contracted by City Power and Johannesburg Water, and I think all the companies are the same because all the owners don't respect meter readers and use them like slave and pay them peanutes... Municipality must take care of this and hire all the meter readers that work under prive companies to work for them.

With employment from a good

With employment from a good company, pay is well above average. I Supervise a field operation crew located in the Phoenix Arizona metro area and our meter readers to start make $14.75 an hour and top out at $24.23 an hour considering the obtain water certifications. It takes a well fit, discipline person to maintain his/her position. Misreads are watched closely, and we expect no more than 1.5 per thousand meters read. Our meter readers rean on average 10,500 manual meters a month in excessive heat.  Automation is underway, and we are only at 30%, but with automation comes the need to at some time revisit the meter for replacement. We have managed this process well thus far, and have redirected meter reading jobs within our company to other facets of operations.Keep up the hard work meter readers, I respect you myself.X-meter reader

meter reader

do not work for HEATH CONSULTANTS. Ther project.mgr and crew leaders are the worst.
they came up with an incentive plan.that.was based on.the nu
mber of meters read per hour plus a base pay of 8r hour. this suvk because you can fead pe

No Lie!

No Lie!

Why we have unions

I've got over 7 years experience in meter reading.
Here's how it breaks down:
With a Union in 2002- $40,000/yr PLUS full benefits, co. vehicle & uniforms
With a contractor today- $20,000/yr MINUS health ins.($1200), vehicle ins., gas, vehicle repairs, uniforms (really?) and let's not forget time off for sick days (there are no sick days!)

To be honest, it's a tough job and you have to enjoy walking (6-12 miles) every day. Lack of staff is the one thing that I'd like to see improve, but just like other jobs, it takes an investment of time to learn. Their is a learning curve too. A new hire puts in 8-12 hrs a day on new routes, while a veteran may get done in 4-6 hrs.

In defense of meter readers

I am currently a meter reader, and I disagree with this. Sure, there are dangers (dogs, bees, irate customers), and the weather sucks in the winter, but this is the best job I've ever had and will probably ever have. I started at $12/hr and five years later I make over $20, plus mileage. I get to be outside all day. It's like I'm paid to exercise. I acknowledge that we'll be replaced by technology, but there are plenty of ways to move up in the company. And yes, you need training. Not just to read the meters, but to deal with all the other hazards of the job. I'm proud to be a meter reader, and I'll keep my job as long as I can.

Loved reading meters! I agree with you.

I started reading meters in 1981.  We were told our job would soon be obsolete.  I retired in 2008 and they are still reading meters the same old way.  I've published a book called "Bite Me: Dilemma and Delight in a Meter Reader's Life."  For me, there were more delights than dilemmas!

Meter Reader should be in the best list

I was a meter reader until electronic methods of obtaining the read took my job. It was a great job if you liked the outdoors and exercise. I would walk about five miles a day on the routes. The best part was you could work at your own pace, no manager breathing down your neck and really no one was around while you were working so it was a walk in the park most days. It was and still is my favorite job of all time.

Now people say it's stressful because of the dogs, that's not true. Dog cookies are your friend :)! I actually had more nice dogs that just wanted you to throw a toy for them then mean dogs.

Regarding the comment for a skill set needed, here are a few. And remember a lot of the jobs are public utilities (think union pay.) That is the reason for the pay. Also how many people would see the job requirements and want to do this day in and day out. (ME!)
- Able to work in all weather conditions no matter what every working day while walking up to seven miles a day.
- Drive a vehicle safely and get out of vehicle multiple times a day on driving routes.
- Read a meter with a monocular from up to seventy-five feet.
- Be able to accurately get a read and compare to previous read for errors.
- Able to handle customers perhaps angry for trespassing. (Not true as utilities have access to meters.)

I want your job !!!

I also want to be a meter reader!!  where do I aply??

meter reader

SOunds like a good wat to get bitten by a dog to me.


Why should the pay be more? Is there a skill needed to read a meter?


I read meters for eight years.Both water and gas.Although it is not rocket science there is a skill to reading a gas meter with dials.Especially over a fence with a monocular at 100 feet or more where you cant even read the numbers on the dials.You have just learned over time to read them based on the position of the dials.You obviously have never read meters.Its not as simple as just walking up and reading the meter.Locked gates, dogs, angry customers, vegetation....etc.I knew the location of over 11500 meters.Both urban and rural.The first year is full of frustration and headaches.People love to bury there water meters with dirt ,bark , they park on them plant things over them.Dont even mention moles! So with all that said.It is not necessarily a skillful job, but it takes years to have it down to a science.There are many tricks of the trade that do require years to perfect.I topped out at 50, 000 btw.Honestly after the first two years it is probably the easiest job ive ever had.The first two were the most stressful.Just felt compelled to add my two cents.

Thinking about becoming a

Thinking about becoming a Meter Reader or at least trying . Just a few questions if you don't mind ? Liked what you had to say about this certain job . The assessment test I've studying & not sure how deep into the math I should be going . They say we'll be tested in problem solving , percents ,fractions ect.  Any pointers on exactly what type of the math the most I should be focused on ? Anything helps , Thank you .


Why should the pay be more??? Because we have to deal with idiots like you. That requires the skill of patience - which I dont have anymore at this moment


What he calls a skill the rest of the world calls  common sense.

Meter Reader Pay

Yes, much of the meter reading is automated now. But, the biggest problem with the positions that still exist is the very low pay. I don't know where CareerCast came up with $35,171.00, but in most of NC the starting pay is about $8-10/hr and top pay is only about $12/hr. Which is the same today as it was ten years ago while I was a meter reader. The job is not all that bad if the compensation was to be a little bit closer to CareerCast's figures.

Meter Man

It's not too bad. We work for our local electric company here in the midwest and we are paid $17+ we per hour. The only bad part about our situation is that we drive our own vehicles, but we are compensated pretty decent for it. The office north of us makes more than $24 per hour! I guess compensation just depends on who you work for.

Meter Reader

In our area the electric provider no longer requires a meter reader, they receive hourly updates over the transmission lines. I'm sure they will soon find a way to combine the other utilities.

meter reader

yes and when it is all smart meter it will eliminate lots of jobs even in the office--goodbye ladies!!hahahahha

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