Meter readers battle freezing temps and snow to work outdoors

Meter readers battle freezing temps and snow to work outdoors

The US Postal Service with the abbreviated motto "neither snow nor rain will keep couriers from their appointed rounds" has nothing on these meter readers, making their rounds in 9 degree temperatures.

"In the extreme cold, when the wind starts blowing there is not a whole lot you can do, it just sucks the heat right out of you," says Greg Hakenson, a First Energy Meter Reader.

 Problem is, when it's this cold the customer will likely pay more and here's one reason why.  

"Your furnace is on longer, lights are on longer, folks stay home," says Hakenson.

Another reason why is that the snow and wind drifts can cut off access to meters. So some utilities like First Energy will average a customer's current bill based on past usage, meaning the next bill might be higher than normal.

"It could be higher or lower until it finally averages itself out," says Hakenson.

Toys which are left in the yard, now buried in the snow, become hazards. And never mind frostbite, a dog bite won't even be considered.  Chomper here is chained to close to read this meter.

"In the summer a meter reader can cover up to 15 miles a day, they won't even come close to that in this weather. We're talking about maybe four or five miles as opposed to maybe 10 or 15 miles in the summer." says Hakenson.

There are 48 meter readers that check some 740,000 customers in Greater Cleveland, a job made even more demanding by the deep snow and bitter cold.

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