At times when hazardous conditions exist, such as periods of heavy snow and/or ice storms, the PUD may not be able to safely access customers’ meters. There also are other unusual circumstances that may prevent a meter reading. These are generally infrequent and affect a small number of customers scheduled for readings.
In other cases, such as highly inaccessible yards (with gates or other barriers) and/or dogs that don’t permit entry, it also may be difficult to read a customer’s meter. In such cases, the meter reading department will pursue other access arrangements for future readings.
If the utility can’t access the meter, it must estimate a customer’s electricity usage. The PUD’s billing system calculates the customer’s estimated electricity consumption based on the usage during the same period of the previous year.
Once the PUD gains access to the customer’s meter, the actual meter reading will be evaluated for an adjustment to the customer’s bill if necessary to either credit their account for any previous high bill estimates or add charges for previous low bill estimates.