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Meter Reading

Electric and water meters are used to measure the amounts of electricity and water that a customer uses. Meter usage information helps customers maintain a record of their usage and can help identify ways to save on their utility bill.

Meters are read on, or about the same date each month. This enables you to be assigned a billing cycle, which determines what your statement mail-out and payment due dates will be each month.

How to Read Your Water Meter

Charges for the amount of water consumed are based on the number of units of water used during a billing period. One unit is equal to 100 cubic feet or 748 gallons. Water meters record the amount of water that flows through the meter in cubic feet. Your reading is calculated by subtracting the previous month’s reading from the current month’s amount. Refer to our Water Rates page for calculating the cost for the number of units used for your rate class and meter size.

How to Read Your Electric Meter

Charges for the amount of electricity consumed are based on the number of units consumed in kilowatt hours. An example of a kilowatt hour: You have a 100 watt light fixture on for 10 hours which will consume 1,000 watts, which equals 1 kilowatt hour (kWh). Electric meters record consumption in kilowatt hours. Your reading is calculated by subtracting the previous month’s reading from the current month’s amount. Refer to our Electric Rates page for calculating the cost for kWh for your rate class. Monthly meter charge, State Utility Tax and Fuel Adjustment estimates would need to be added to get to an estimate for total electric charges.

Reasons Meters Are Not Read

Although meter readers are supposed to have free and unimpeded access to CWLP meters at all times, such access might not always be available, making it impossible for meters to be read. If your meter(s) cannot be read, your usage will be estimated. On your bill, an estimated meter reading will be indicated by an "E" in the Bill Code column.

Some examples of situations that make it impossible for meter readers to gain access to meters include the following:

  • Plants, debris, and other material that block access to or a view of the meter. Customers are responsible for removing any vegetation or materials around meters that prevent the meters from being safely and accurately read.
  • Meters located behind locked fences or inside buildings. If you cannot always be available to let the meter reader into a fenced yard or basement, you can—if you wish—provide CWLP with a key to the fence or building. Your key will be coded so that the matching address would not be evident to anyone other than the meter reader. For more information about this option, contact the Customer Service Office by phone at 217.789.2030; by FAX at 217.789.2026; or by email at
  • Unrestrained animals. Dogs or other pets that have the potential to cause bodily harm to CWLP employees are another reason your meter might not be read. For the sake of the meter reader, your pet and yourself, please keep your animals properly restrained so they do not pose a threat and so your meter can be read regularly.
  • Inclement weather. Sometimes, the blame for our inability to read your meter lies with Mother Nature. Certain weather conditions—including extremely high or low temperatures or severe storms—can occasionally force our meter readers to skip your meter's monthly read.

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