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Meter reader day in Pittsburg - KOAM TV 7

Meter reader day in Pittsburg

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If you're sitting inside right now, you might want to consider yourself lucky.  Some people have been outside almost all day.

James Spencer with Westar Energy looks at the numbers.  He says natural gas readings are about three times higher than what they are during non-winter days.  Spencer is feeling the teen-digit numbers off the thermometer, too.

"Snow and ice, you can't move as fast as normal.  So you just have to take it slower," says Spencer.

He's doing a job that's unnoticed by many, but not all.

"You know, I never think about it.  But my wife says, boy, I wouldn't want that job at all.  It would be nice in the summer, you know," says Pittsburg resident Paul Mason.

No matter which season, Spencer has his tools of the trade, like something that looks like an umbrella.

"You can open it up and it keeps the dog from getting you.  We don't call it an umbrella, but it is an umbrella.  We call it a bite terminator," says Spencer.

Spencer reads about 500 gas and electric meters a day, not every day, but during a day when 80% of the time is spent outside.

"Really, the meter readers themselves will really make that final decision.  I'm not going to over rule them if they feel the roads are just too treacherous for us to get those," says Marlon Weston, a supervisor with Westar Energy.

Spencer's job can be thankless, especially when it involves later seeing a bill.

"I saw you guys out here a while ago, and I wondered what the heck was going on!  I figured someone had a gas lead," says Mason.

James Spencer is doing a simple job.  One without any leaks, but getting the job done.

Click the associated video to learn more about how Westar tries to coordinate meter readings on cold days like today.

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