UNISON represents many of the UK’s meter readers, who work in people’s homes and the union is deeply concerned that this activity is continuing during the current heightened phase of coronavirus infection in the UK.
Meter readers can visit up to 80 properties in a day and work in enclosed spaces.
The government’s own recently revised guidance recognises that workers in constant short contact with other people are both at risk of contracting the new variant strains of COVID and at risk of spreading the virus.
The union has written to energy minister Paul Scully MP, together with gas and electricity regulator Ofgem and the major energy companies.
UNISON national officer for energy Matthew Lay writes: “While it is possible for our members to take every precaution and use PPE, they cannot control the environment in which they work, as it is customers’ housing.
“Due to the sheer number of people who would come into contact with a meter reader every day, and the fact that this is a non-essential activity, I would urgently request that this activity is stopped at the direction of the government and Ofgem, for as long as the current lockdown persists.
“This will hopefully play a part in establishing a downward trend in transmission of the virus and enable more rapid return to normal economic activity.”