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Off Peak

Pack journalists feed off PG&E letter.
Fortnightly Magazine - March 15 2002

had success. Meter readers are now noticing more dogs barking at them from behind windows in customers' houses instead of approaching them in the yards, Alderman says.

Other utilities across the country also are trying to inform their customers about keeping their pets away from meter readers. But in cases where dogs still are loose, some utilities are using a device called a telescoping umbrella to protect meter readers. Whenever a dog approaches a meter reader in a threatening manner, the umbrella can be activated in the direction of the animal.

"The popping sound first startles the dog," says Andy Duzyk, manager for meter reading for Florida Power and Light's north area. "Then the umbrella provides a barrier between the dog and reader."

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