To help keep employees safe on the job, Consumers Energy will now require people to restrain or contain all dogs before gas or electric meters will be read.
"We continue to see an increase in the number of dog bites to meter readers, even by dogs that have in the past exhibited no aggressive behavior. This required a change in our policy to help protect our employees," said Charles Montgomery, manager of customer field services.
The utility also says customers with dogs that have exhibited aggressive behavior and who have bitten or injured an employee will only have their meter read with a police escort.
Customers also may read their own meter and give the information to the utility.
Consumers says if your meter is not easily accessible or your dog must be loose near your meter, you can avoid estimated bills by submitting your meter read online or calling the company's toll-free 24-hour customer service number: (800) 477-5050.