Meter Reader (2004-09-26)

Every month we get our water bill, gas bill and power bill in the mail.  These are not your regular billing statements but rather like slips.  They aren't mailed to us but dropped through the mail slot.  Utility companies send out staff who go to every single household and read meters behind houses or apartments.  They carry a small machine on their waists which prints out the slips for them to deposite in mailboxes.

On each slip the amount paid the month before and the amount which will be deducted from your bank will be printed.  They serve as notification rather than reminder of payment because everything is done automatically in the bank.  You just have to make sure there is enough balance in your account to cover the payment.

On one occasion our water bill increased drastically after we returned from a 10-day vacation.  When the meter man delivered the bill, he noticed the increase and asked me if there might be dripping faucets or water leakage in the apartment.  That is so attentive of him and the water company.  Of course you wouldn't expect anything less from Japanese companies, would you?

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