ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Some Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) customers are getting messages that their electricity use will be estimated. Here’s why you shouldn’t be worried about that.

“Estimated rates do happen, and they can happen for a couple of different reasons. And one of those is staffing constraints,” explains PNM spokesperson Eric Chavez. “Other reasons can be you know, weather, locked gates, a dog in the backyard, the list goes on.”

But when PNM estimates your rate, they do so using your own previous usage. And the next time they do get an actual meter reading, they’ll correct the estimate.

For example, if the meter reader can’t get to your house in April, PNM will use your reading from March and a reading from April of last year to estimate how much you might use this April, Chavez says. Then, when they read the meter in May, they’ll be able to see how much you actually used. If they overbilled you in the estimate, your bill will be cheaper in May to make up for it.

“We can’t charge people for what they didn’t use,” Chavez says. “And so, we definitely have our processes to make sure that they get their actual reading and pay for what they use.”

So why does PNM have to estimate some readings? Right now, they’re a little shorthanded around the Albuquerque Metro area. Chavez says they currently have about 47 full-time meter readers. They want to have about 10 more.

To fill the gap, they’ve conducted a rapid-hire event, which more than 150 people attended, Chavez said. About 50 people have moved forward in the application process.

As PNM works to boost its numbers, there are certain steps you can also take to make sure your meter is read accurately. Chavez says that people should make sure their meter is accessible (gates to access the meter are unlocked) and that there are no loose dogs or animals that would prevent PNM staff from getting to the meter. Sometimes, staff will use binoculars to read the meter without getting into your yard, so making sure there are no weeds or plants blocking the meter is also helpful, Chavez says.

Finally, make sure you know when your meter reader is planning a visit. PNM schedules visits ahead of time based on your billing cycle, which is listed on your bill. To learn how to find your reading schedule, check out