HECO reports more dog bites on meter readers - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

HECO reports more dog bites on meter readers

By Ben Gutierrez - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaiian Electric Company is reporting that more of its meter readers are being bitten by dogs. And it has written its customers in an effort to reduce the number of bites.

In a letter, HECO said that dog bites to meter readers so far this year have already surpassed the number in previous years, and that the injuries are becoming more serious.

"We sent out about 18,000 of these letters to these customers who in the past have had dogs," said HECO spokesman Darren Pai.

Pai said the company is trying to update its database so that its meter readers can know beforehand if there's a dog at a house, before they get there.

"What we want to do is make sure that we can provide our customers with the appropriate amount of service, while also ensuring the safety of our employees," Pai said.

While many electrical meters are located in the front of a residence or property, many of them are located on the side of a house, or sometimes even in the back yard, or in a spot that is surrounded by trees or shrubbery.

And even if there is a dog, HECO still wants to make sure meter readers can still get an accurate reading.

The letter includes a form to let HECO know whether a customer has a dog and whether it is loose, on a leash, or in a cage or kennel.

"If they do have a dog, we're just asking them to make sure that the dog is secured, and if necessary, we can call ahead and arrange a time that the meter reader can arrive, and they can have the dog secured properly," said Pai.

Pai said the company cannot give out an exact number of dog bites, citing employee medical privacy concerns. However, "even one incident with a dog is too many," Pai said. "We just want to make sure that it's safe for the animal, safe for our employees and safe for everybody all around."

Customers who didn't get a letter will still get a reminder. HECO will have an article about dogs and dog bites in the newsletter that it sends out with its monthly bills.

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