Meter Reading Info & Schedule

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The safety and security of your dwelling has never been more important. At the same time, access is vital for you and your meter reader - especially meter(s) behind locked gates. Providing access to your utility meter is the best way to ensure you receive reliable and accurately billed services.

Over 62,000 electric, natural gas, and water meters are being read each month. To help residents track and schedule our access to the meters, CPAU provides a monthly "Meter Reading Route Calendar". This calendar indicates scheduled meter reading dates, identified by the designated route number. To determine your route number, please contact Utilities Customer Service:

Phone: (650) 329-2161

Meter Reading Route Calendar(PDF, 86KB)

Having trouble reading your meter? Check out our Meter Reading Bill insert on how to do so.

If you are unable to provide access for reasons of work, travel, or scheduling, enroll in the CPAU “Customer Reads Own Meter” program. This program allows you to read (or photograph) your own meters and submit that information to CPAU on a monthly basis.

Submit Reads

Step 1.Send us a picture

Submit your clear close-up photo of each meter dial meter by email to:

Step 2.Mail pre-printed Meter Read cards

Completed cards can be mailed to:

City of Palo Alto Utilities, 2nd Floor
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301

Step 3.Submit your meter readings

Online, through the Meter Reading Form:

Meter Reading Form


Note: Your meter readings, in every format, should be submitted to CPAU approximately 5 to 7 days before the scheduled Meter Read date indicated on the monthly Route Calendar. This will ensure that we receive your reads on time for billing purposes.

Meter Access

To keep your meters accessible each month, consider the following:

Step 1.Ensure gate codes or keys are up to date.

If gates have a lock or require a code, make sure to give us a call update that information. If meter(s) are not accessible, estimations may be used for that service period.

Step 2.Moving out of Palo Alto?

When calling us to end utility services, or filling out the Move Out form online, please remember to let us know if the gates will be locked. If we are not able to get reads, there may be a delay in providing you the final bill. This may especially be important for commercial customers who have meter(s) in locked cabinets or meter(s) located inside the building. 

Step 3.Access for Emergencies.

It is essential that in the event of an emergency such as water/gas leaks or power outages, meter(s) can be accessed by the responding Utility crew. Concerned about meter safety? Visit our Utilities Safety Information page and our "Who to Call" list. 

Who to Call

For an up-to-date emergency contact list magnet, call Utility Customer Services to get one mailed to you. 

(650) 329-2161

Meter Maintenance

Step 1.Remember to keep the area around your meter(s) clear.

Debris, shrubbery and branches can make it difficult to access the meter(s). If you can't reach it, neither can we.

Step 2.Remember to keep your pet(s) inside the day the meter reader is scheduled.

If this is not an option, consider becoming a self-read customer on a monthly basis. We want to make sure your best friend stays with you. Call Customer Service Utilities to inquire:

(650) 329-2161

Step 3.Going out of town? Remember to notify us.

If the meter reading date is on the day you may be out of town, please ensure to let us know. We may be able to find alternate ways to get your meter readings, such as a picture before you leave. If the reads will be estimated, it will be based on an average from the historic usage for that service period. Unsure when your read date is? Call Utilities Customer Service to inquire.

Step 4.Concerns about meter safety? 

Safety is our top priority. If you smell gas, see water leaking, or see tree branches hitting power lines, call our emergency numbers. Visit our "Who to Call" list,

 Who to Call

Or call Utilities Customer service to receive an up-to-date emergency contact list magnet. Want more information about general utility safety? Visit our Utilities Safety Information page.


Step 1.Who is responsible for the meter?

The City of Palo Alto owns, operates and is responsible for setting the meter as well as the gas, electric and water lines leading up to the meter. The customer is responsible for the lines from the meter to the house. 

Step 2.Concerned about strangers on your property?

Safety is our top priority. Knowing when your route is being read can ease concerns about persons in your neighborhood. If you feel uncomfortable and are unsure if someone entering your property is your meter reader, call Utilities Customer Service and we will investigate. Our meter readers carry City issued badges, with an employee number and photo. 

(650) 329-2161

Step 3.How often is my meter being read?

Each neighborhood has a designated route that is read monthly. Our Utility Meter Readers read every operating business day. You will find that your billing cycle can be anywhere from 28-33 service days.

Step 4.How do I know if my meter is accurate?

All meter types and models are tested extensively by CPAU before they are installed or exchanged. All Utility account holders may also call Utilities Customer Service if meter(s) need to be re-read, in the case of an unusually high bill or out-of-normal usage. 

(650) 329-2161

Step 5.I found that my meter read is incorrect. Who do I contact?

If you have found that a meter read was billed to you inaccurately, call Utilities Customer Service. We may ask if a picture can be provided and emailed, so that accurate adjustments can be made accordingly. Adjustments that have been made will not be re-billed or re-printed, it will appear on the next printed billing statement. 

(650) 329-2161


To participate in this program, customers will need to allow CPAU to schedule one annual site visit to inspect and read your meters to ensure that each meter is operating correctly and safely.   

Read more about Meter Reading Rules and Regulations(PDF, 143KB).