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31 August 2014

Much to the annoyance of many of us in my area, Meridian has chosen to dump two local meter readers. This is infuriating for several reasons which I thought would have registered on Meridian as being common sense. The meter readers have been doing the job for a very long time. They know us and we know them, and as many meters in rural properties with older houses are inside said house, it’s a good idea for the reader and homeowner to know each other. The previous reader in my area knew me, where the meter was in the house, the watchgeese were familiar with him, and the cat adored him. Meridian has said that this is a cost-saving measure. Really? A new reader is going to take several times the amount of time it has previously taken to read the meters in any given area where these guys have worked. The new reader has to find the right gate to the most commonly used door, knock and wait until someone answers. Then he has to ask to be shown the meter. In my case he also has to negotiate the geese who, not knowing him, may well refuse him access meaning that each time I see him arrive I have to drop whatever I’m doing and rush outside to escort him in and then out of the house. And, with my not knowing who he is initially either, I have to stand at the door while I check his I.D. What if I’m suspicious that this isn’t a genuine reader? What if I don’t feel happy with this person having free access to my home? I know our original reader who is a local man, he strolls in past the geese, pats Thunder, reads the meter and leaves again. If I’m busy he does that on occasion without ever seeing me. I was happy with that. I’m not happy with someone I don’t know doing this. It would be different if our two meter readers had chosen to retire, but they haven’t. We’re told this change will save money, I bet it won’t. And if Meridian think that hiring people who don’t know the layout of properties and meter placements, don’t know guard dogs and watchgeese, have to explain themselves at every reading to suspicious householders, (and probably get bogged in gateways and other trouble spots that the original people knew about too) is going to speed things up, then all I can say is that while the new readers are reading meters, someone should be reading Meridian heads, because this is a deeply silly act, which will save neither time nor money and is going to annoy a lot of their customers who may decide to go elsewhere once they’ve thought about it.

 

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