Each day thousands of older meters are replaced by electronic readers that communicate usage to the utilities wirelessly, the Associated Press reports. This allows for more accurate and timely reports on the amount of water, electricity or natural gas a household is using, as well as quicker reporting of outages or other problems.
That doesn’t help the work force, though. In one department of Pacific Gas & Electric, the number of meter readers has declined from more than 50 in 2007 to just six today.
Southern California Edison ruffled far more feathers last year, doling out retirement packages or transferring most of its 972 meter readers, the AP reports.