Ergon Energy file photos of previous injuries on meter readers.
Ergon Energy file photos of previous injuries on meter readers.

GRAPHIC PHOTOS: Dog attacks on Ergon meter readers tally up

Ergon customers with dogs are being urged to provide their pet details to the company to allow meter readers safer entry to properties.

The call comes as two Queensland meter readers recover from serious injuries after being attacked by dogs on the loose.

Ergon Energy's general manager customer and market operations Cloe Kernick said the incidents at Barcaldine and Booval were a painful reminder of what can happen when gates are left open or dogs are able to jump the fence.

Of the 19 incidents in Queensland throughout the past 18 months, two have been in the Wide Bay region.

One incident was at Gin Gin and another was at Agnes Water (no photos were available of these incidents).

ERGON: Photo of an Ergon Energy meter reader's injuries after an incident in Barcaldine recently.
ERGON: Photo of an Ergon Energy meter reader's injuries after an incident in Barcaldine recently.

 

"Dog owners need to take responsibility for their pets for the safety of everyone walking in their neighbourhood, including meter readers doing their rounds," Ms Kernick 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."

Ergon Energy file photos of previous injuries on meter readers.
Ergon Energy file photos of previous injuries on meter readers.

 

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, but 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."

Ergon Energy file photos of previous injuries on meter readers.
Ergon Energy file photos of previous injuries on meter readers.

 

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.

If two dogs are listed and the meter reader can only see that one is secured, they can't guarantee safe entry.

"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," she 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."

Ergon Energy file photos of previous injuries on meter readers.
Ergon Energy file photos of previous injuries on meter readers.

 

If meter access is an ongoing issue or they receive a skipped read card, dog owners also have the option of submitting an online self-meter read.

For more information on safe entry to your premises click here or how to submit a self-meter read click here.

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