Snohomish County Public Utility District No. 1

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Customer Service (M-F 8a-5:30p): 425-783-1000

Meter Reading FAQs

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How does one know that his or her meter is being read? I've never seen a meter reader come to my home.

Your electric meter is read every month. An experienced meter reader is capable of checking a meter in five to ten seconds. Consequently, it’s not surprising that some customers have not noticed the meter reader.

We can assure you that your meter is being read, even though you may have missed seeing the meter reader. You may receive an estimated bill in unusual circumstances, for example, when severe weather prevents our meter readers from making their rounds on a particular day. Other reasons could be a locked gate or aggressive dog.

One way to check that your meter is being read accurately is to look at the meter when you get your bill. You should receive your statement a few days after the meter reader has visited, so the reading listed on your bill should still be close to the reading on your meter.

Our yard is completely fenced with a locked gate. How is our meter being read?

The numbers on a electric meter are clearly visible from six to ten feet away. And, by noting the position of the dial indicators, an experienced meter reader can accurately read an electric meter from as far away as twenty feet. We also provide binoculars and/or monoculars for readings beyond the range where the dials are not clearly visible.

According to state law, however, we have the right to enter a customer’s property for the purpose of reading the meter. Most meters are easy for us to reach, but a few offer a considerable challenge. Wood piles are sometimes placed in front of the meter, locked gates sometimes stand in the way, overly protective dogs don’t let us near, and we’ve even had cases where a remodeling project has enclosed the meter inside the house!

You can’t receive an accurate bill if your meter can’t be read. Please be considerate and provide safe, unobstructed access to the meter. If you have a locked gate or a dog that may pose a threat to a meter reader, contact our Customer Service Department so we can make arrangements for reading your meter.

I have a dog that doesn't like strangers on my property. How do I handle your staff trying to read my meter?

By law, if the PUD provides electrical or water service to you, the utility then has the right to enter your property to read/maintain its metering equipment without your permission. You are responsible for providing access to PUD equipment for the installation, maintenance and removal of its property. Maintaining safe and easy access helps keep our costs down.

Because of the ever-increasing number of protective dogs, PUD meter readers, customer service representatives, and servicemen sometimes experience difficulty reading and servicing meters. The dog’s natural instinct to protect the customer’s property poses a problem if a meter reader feels personally threatened. PUD meter readers protect themselves from aggressive animals with tools such as (but not limited to) dog bones, umbrellas, dog sticks, and even pepper spray.

Dog owners can help alleviate the problem by contacting our Customer Service Department to obtain the scheduled day their meter is to be read — as well as to notify the PUD of the dog’s presence. We expect to read the meters according to this schedule; however, circumstances may require a day early or late. Therefore, we require a 3-day window of access for our readers. One way to know when your meter is read is to tape a note to the meter asking the reader to remove it after reading the meter. That would be the signal to you that access is no longer needed until the next scheduled reading data window. Please note that the scheduled meter reading date is not a guaranteed date. It could be rescheduled to a totally different date without customer notice (although we try our best to stay to our scheduled dates).

We appreciate your help with making our visit to your property quick and safe by maintaining easy access to your meter and keeping your dogs away from the PUD meter area.

I am curious why bicycles are attached to the back of some meter reader trucks?

Some of our meter readers use bicycles on their route in places where the homes are too far apart to walk efficiently, but also too close together to drive. The bicycles allow the meter readers to get around more quickly and they also save fuel costs.

How do you read a meter?