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Meter readers unlawfully entering houses?

By jake - 30 July 2008 37

Has anyone had a meter reader enter their house unlawfully?

Earlier this week an electricity meter reader entered my house through the back door after letting themselves through the gate, while myself and my wife were home, and she was having a shower in the next room, and both our cars were parked out the front (he had to walk around them to get inside).

Now our meter is not on a porch or anything like that. It is inside the house… you have to enter the back door and go into the laundry/kitchen area.

When I complained, their initial response has been that it was their policy to do this.

This makes me wonder how often they do this. Has anyone else here had this happen to them? I don’t quite understand how anyone could think that it is a good idea to have a policy of entering homes if the back door is unlocked.

What’s Your opinion?

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37 Responses to
Meter readers unlawfully entering houses?
iCanberran 1:12 pm 30 Jul 08

They’re allowed to enter “property” and even move property (plants, paths, driveway,etc) to carry out their duties. However I do not consider it warranted to enter a private residence while people are clearly home just to check a meter. Sounds very dodge. Even if it were a real ActewAGL staff member, I would still be suspicious of their intent. There’s always a chance of bad seed getting into the ranks. It pays to keep the doors and windows locked.

H1NG0 12:59 pm 30 Jul 08

I’d leave every door locked and see how long it is before you get another bill or if they will just “estimate” how much power you have used. I got an “estimated” bill from EnergyAustralia once and it was a good $200 more than I actually used, and my meter is out the front of my bloody house.

tylersmayhem 12:58 pm 30 Jul 08

Jake – I’d take this as far as it needs to go legally with the company and police. This behaviour is far from on!

amarooresident 12:32 pm 30 Jul 08

Assuming it was legit, How would they read your meter if you weren’t home? Break in?

Aurelius 12:23 pm 30 Jul 08

If they’re coming in without knocking, claim something is missing – and see how quickly their policy changes.

MrMagoo 12:16 pm 30 Jul 08

I still think that they can’t just come in a door or gate or whatever without the home owner/occupiers permission.

Same as I found a guy claiming to be from ACTEW running the tap out the front of my house and claiming he was testing water. I asked who would reinburse me if I got charged for excess water use and he replied that that was not his problem, he was doing his job.

Seems to me some of these people are a law unto themselves.

jakez 12:13 pm 30 Jul 08

Wow, I’m shocked. If I were you I’d be bloody pissed off.

jake 12:02 pm 30 Jul 08

Thanks FB… on that note there is a little more to the story.

I came out of the house as he was leaving. I asked what he was doing. He said he was there to read the meter. I thought ‘cool’ – I haven’t lived in a house before with the meter inside so didn’t think about it.

I realised when I got in that the meter is in the house, so went back out and took the guy’s numberplate. When I called the power company to complain, they said that they hadn’t sent anyone.

At that point I called the cops with the guy’s description and numberplate. They basically recommended that I leave work immediately to see what had been stolen.

While I was on the way home the power company called me back and said that he was in fact with them. I called the cops off, and that’s where I am now.

Thumper 11:54 am 30 Jul 08

Beat them with a prefrozen stoat.

FB 11:54 am 30 Jul 08

I suggest giving ActEWAGL a call on 13 10 93 and asking about it.

Did you get the name or ID number of the person?

FB 11:52 am 30 Jul 08

Jake, from the ACTEWAGL web site

ActewAGL and the Australian Federal Police warn Canberra residents not to allow entry into their land by anyone claiming to be an ActewAGL employee without seeing their ActewAGL identity card.

In the past, ActewAGL has received reports of people claiming to be ActewAGL employees entering resident’s land and, in one case, charging money to perform phony jobs.

ActewAGL will never request face-to-face payment for a service and if someone does request this, alarm bells should ring that this person is attempting to rob you.

Under the Consumer Protection Code ActewAGL utility staff must always attempt to identify themselves to a resident before entering their land. The exception to this is if staff are responding to an emergency, reading a meter or checking the accuracy of a meter.

ActewAGL employees are required to knock on the door of the property in an effort to identify themselves to someone at the premises. This involves showing their identity card and explaining their reason for needing access.

If a person is claiming to be an ActewAGL employee and cannot produce an identity card then residents are urged to call ActewAGL on 13 10 93 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000

jake 11:40 am 30 Jul 08

el: Yeah, now. We just had it open a crack to let the cats out for 20 mins in the morning. before we left for work. We weren’t really expecting someone to walk inside at 8:30am.

el 11:38 am 30 Jul 08

Considered locking the back door?

jake 11:28 am 30 Jul 08

H1NG0: I don’t know… it’s a rental. They could have build the house around it I guess to enclose an area that was previously outdoors, although if that is the case then it happened a long time ago – the brickwork is not new.

H1NG0 11:24 am 30 Jul 08

Thats a tricky one. Entering a yard is one thing, entering a house is another. The better question is, why the hell is the meter in your house?!

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