Rain, shine or ice, Keith weathers any storm for customers
On a typical day, Keith Brown is out the door and headed to work by 7 a.m. When he gets to work at City of Lubbock Utilities, he loads all the daily meter reading routes on handheld devices for his team of 20 meter readers. On a monthly basis, Keith and his team are responsible for reading the monthly usage for 105,000 electric meters and 84,000 water meters.
Born and raised in Lubbock, Keith attended Bayless Elementary and grew up helping his dad in the hardware and lumber business. It wasn’t until his neighbor introduced him to the industry that Keith found a career in meter reading.
Twenty-nine years later, Keith is the Lead Meter Reader for City of Lubbock Utilities. After setting his team up for the day’s routes, Keith will typically be found out in the field or assisting customers at their homes or businesses.
Each meter reader is responsible for reading and entering 500-700 meters per day, or around 80 meters per hour in an eight-hour work day. With Lubbock’s growing population, the meter reading department is tasked strategically, deploying their readers throughout the city in order to read every meter, every month.
In the hot summer months, Keith says the team often experiences acts of kindness from customers, such as those who bring them cold water while they’re reading meters in the heat.
There are days, though, when completing daily meter reads are more challenging. Texas weather can be unpredictable and Keith and his team are no strangers to the ever-changing elements.
“I’ve been out in all kinds of weather,” Keith said, recalling a time when he treaded through a large Lubbock snowstorm to complete his route. “I remember icicles hanging off my beard.”
Come what may - snow, rain, wind, heat and even a few very protective pets, Keith and his fellow meter readers keep going day after day, hour after hour because they know the importance and responsibility they bear for getting the job done – and done right.
“If I don’t get the right read and someone’s on a fixed income, they won’t be able to pay their bill,” Keith explained. “I’m a customer too, and I want my bill to be accurate. I pay it just like everyone else.”
As City of Lubbock Utilities begins the process of bringing advanced meters to Lubbock, Keith and his team will still have a vital role to play in day-to-day operations. Current meter readers will be trained to serve as meter technicians and will help conduct customer visits when they have questions.
Lubbock has been Keith’s home for over 54 years. Like many Lubbockites, he loves watching Marvel movies and going out to eat at Texas Roadhouse. He also has a fond appreciation for Labrador retrievers. When he’s not working, Keith enjoys spending time with his family.
To learn more about meter reading, visit https://www.cityoflubbockutilities.com/how-to/read-your-meters/. For any meter reading questions, call City of Lubbock Utilities customer service at 806-775-2509 from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday.