REVEALED: Locations where dogs attacked Ergon workers
Energy sector workers play a huge role in the continuing functionality of today’s modern, technology-dependent world.
Without them our homes, schools and offices would be vulnerable to extended power outages, which would damage employee productivity and customer satisfaction rates.
However, when the energy workers on the front line are attacked by pets while reading meters, who is there to protect them?
Ergon Energy recently released a breakdown of the location of dog attacks on meter readers in Queensland over the last 18 months.
Worryingly, there have been three attacks on meter readers in Central Queensland over the last 18 months.
The attacks occurred at Agnes Water, Dysart and Rockhampton.
“In Agnes Water an Ergon Energy field technician was working on a metering job when a dog has jumped over the fence into the work area and bit the technician,” said Brett Judge, Ergon’s principal corporate communications advisor.
“The technician required medical treatment for his injuries.”
At Dysart, a customer left instructions on Ergon Energy’s systems that their dogs were restrained and separated from work area.
“The meter reader assessed the customer’s dog details and thought no-one was home,” Mr Judge said.
“The next door neighbour advised the dogs were restrained, but when the meter reader entered the premise a dog has come out and bitten the reader.
“The customer was on site but didn’t realise the meter reader was as well and released the dog from its penned area.
“The meter reader attended hospital and received nine stitches on a leg.”
In Rockhampton the customer left instructions on Ergon Energy’s system that their dogs were restrained and separated from the work area.
“The meter reader called out and shook the gate and believed the dog was restrained,” Mr Judge said.
“The dog came out after the meter reader entered and left a puncture wound in the reader’s arm requiring medical treatment.”
Ergon Energy’s general manager customer and market operations, Cloe Kernick, issued this statement after attacks at Barcaldine and Booval.
“Dog owners need to take responsibility for their pets for the safety of everyone walking in their neighbourhood, including meter readers doing their rounds,” she said.
“Dog attacks are traumatic and can have lasting effects on the physical and mental health of the victims and their families – some people are literally scarred for life.
“Every day, meter readers go door-to-door on foot as part of their job, so the risk is always front of mind for them and we hope that dog owners understand the part they play in keeping our people safe.”
In January 2019, Ergon Energy introduced a safe entry policy that prevents crews and meter readers from entering yards where there is a record of dogs on site, or where it’s not clear that they’re securely restrained or separated from the work area.
Since then there has been a 40 per cent reduction in the number of incidents and injuries.
“While we’ve seen a vast improvement in the last two years, meter readers are still being bitten by dogs and we need the community’s help to stop these horrific incidents,” Ms Kernick said.
“We’ve introduced a free SMS notification service for dog owners, who can register online to receive a text the day before their scheduled meter read.
“This gives them time to prepare for the meter reader’s visit to ensure safe entry and avoid a skipped read.”
Using Ergon’s customer self service portal, customers can also update their dog details, so the meter reader is aware of exactly how many dogs are meant to be on site.
“We have circumstances where people either get a new dog or, sadly, lose a pet and the last thing they think about is updating their details until they receive an estimated meter read, so please get in touch with the most up-to-date information,” Ms Kernick said.
“We understand that many people think their dogs wouldn’t hurt a fly and the safe entry policy shouldn’t apply to them, but you never know how pets are going to react to strangers and our people can’t take any chances because we’ve seen some horrific injuries caused by small dogs that look harmless.”
If meter access is an ongoing issue or dog owners receive a skipped read card, they also have the option of submitting an online self-meter read.
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