Insights > From the Frontlines: Getting to Work Isn’t Easy
From the Frontlines: Getting to Work Isn’t Easy
What do you have to get through to get to work in the morning? Long commutes, extended school drop-off lines or congested traffic are some of the most common headaches you might experience getting to your job. But for our meter readers, their job to check your meter is different every day. Flooding, overgrown vegetation, deteriorating buildings and wary pets are just a few of the obstacles that can make their job unsafe. Check out a few photos of the field conditions readers must face to get an accurate reading of our customers’ meters.
Have more questions about our meter reading process? Here are a few of the most common questions we receive about meter reader operations.
How do I know that the person in my backyard checking my meter(s) is an Entergy employee?
Our service personnel have an Entergy logo on their shirt. You may also see their truck parked in front of your house with the Entergy logo and name on the side panel. Both our service personnel and meter readers carry a picture identification card. In addition, the meter readers have their company’s name, logo and Entergy’s logo on their shirt with the words “Meter Reader” printed on the back. Their truck will display both Entergy’s and their company’s logo. Should you have doubts, please contact Entergy at 1-800-ENTERGY.
Why is my meter not read on the same day of each month?
Generally, your meter is read on the same day each month. Each meter is allocated to a daily reading cycle. Weather and the seasons may put our meter readers behind schedule. We don’t read meters after dark, so on bad weather days and short daylight days (like in December), or due to limited access to your meter (a locked gate, for example), we may fall a few days behind in making the reading. After the meter is read, the readings are checked to ensure their validity and then approved for billing.
Why does my electric bill sometimes state that it is estimated? What does this mean? How do you correct your estimation errors?
On occasions, we must estimate your meter reading because of a major storm or your meter was temporarily not accessible (locked gate or dog in the yard). Estimation relies on prior usage information and a prediction model to estimate what your meter readings would be under similar circumstances. If your reading was underestimated or overestimated, it will be corrected with the next actual meter reading. Because the meter reading determines your electric bill's usage and is a factor in determining the billed amount, estimating your usage is what we mean when your bill states it is "estimated." In rare situations, we may have to estimate your reading if the metering equipment is damaged or malfunctions.
How do you ensure the accuracy of my meter and meter reading?
Our meter shops periodically test customer meters to identify malfunctions that could result in inaccurate readings. Entergy's regulators require that we test a random number of meters each year. In addition, prior to being returned to service, all meters are refurbished and tested for accuracy. Finally, each month that your meter is read, the readings are compared to previous months and historical readings for verification.
I have a pet in my yard. What will you do to keep them safe while you check my meter?
Our policy is to respect resident animals and work safely. As you can imagine, many of us at Entergy have loved pets in our families. Workers are trained to use different tactics to avoid any confrontation with pets, which is for the safety of the dog and the worker. That said, sometimes an animal gets aggressive, and the employee's safety is threatened. Our meter readers carry a product called HALT, which is a natural pepper extract dog repellent. It's commonly used by utilities and the postal service and should only be used to prevent an attack.
While our current system requires meter readers to manually check your meter, we’re in the process of upgrading our systems with new technology to modernize the electric grid. And it starts with advanced metering. Advanced meters are now being installed at customers’ homes and businesses in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. By the end of 2021, the advanced metering infrastructure should be complete across our entire system, which means approximately 3 million customers will then have access to better energy management tools and other benefits. Learn more about the benefits of advanced meters.