An electric meter reading allows the cooperative to bill each member for the actual amount of electricity used, measured in kilo­watt-hours (kWh). WCEC reads your meter daily using an automated meter infrastructure (AMI) system. Your automated meter sends your reading electronically to WCEC.

AMI allows the cooperative to bill members more accurately and saves Wharton County Electric Cooperative money through fewer property visits. Because the system uses two-way communications, WCEC can serve members more efficiently, saving time and resources by reducing the number of trucks on the road. The system may also detect the location of power outages more rapidly. This translates to better service to all members.

More efficient member service and support

  • Improved handling of member accounts (i.e. connects, re-connects, service transfers)
  • Daily and sometimes hourly use data for billing and use inquiries
  • Online presentation of daily and sometimes hourly use to interested members
  • Fewer visits to the meter location
  • High-level billing and meter read accuracy

Lower operating costs

  • Lower costs for meter reading
  • Fewer trucks on the road
  • More detailed data to plan, construct and optimize our electric distribution system



WCEC’s AMI electric meters include technology allowing them to be read without physical access to the meter. These meters improve meter reading efficiencies and accuracy, but even with remote reading capabilities, the member is responsible for keeping the meter clear of obstructions and provide our meter technicians with access to the meter.

When applying for electric service with WCEC, each member provided a signed easement granting the cooperative access to the electric meter. The meter is the property of WCEC and we require access to read the meter in order to bill for services rendered and ensure accurate readings. Providing access to the meters allows staff to conduct routine maintenance and to access the meters on an as-needed basis to obtain a manual reading. Easy accessibility to the meter at your service location is required in order for our employees to do their job safely and efficiently. Additionally, if there is an emergency, such as a house fire, we need to have access in order to remove the meter or cut the line from the transformer. This is for the safety of all our consumers.

The National Electric Safety Code requires an unobstructed working space that extends from the floor or ground to a minimum height of 6 feet, 6 inches. For electrical equipment mounted higher than 6 feet, 6 inches, this space shall extend to the top of the equipment. There shall be a minimum distance of three feet of unobstructed working space, measured from the meter face, in front of all electric meters.

Member responsibilities

  • Cooperative personnel are strangers and their presence in your “territory” can provoke a pet. If you have a dog, or access to your service is through a locked gate, please make sure that your dog is locked up and the gate is unlocked. Confine pets indoors or chained away from the meter;
  • Clear tall grass, shrubs, fencing, leaves, snow, icicles, etc. that may hide or damage the meter;
  • Ensuring cars and dumpsters are not blocking the meter,
  • Providing special instructions for WCEC personnel, or whatever else is necessary to provide meter access, to include unlocking your gate, providing the cooperative with a key, or calling to arrange a time with meter technician if your gate must remain locked;
  • Arrange for an adult to be present when a meter inside your home is to be read or maintenance performed.

Meter Obstructions
Please make every effort to keep your meter accessible, or to fix any current situation that is preventing WCEC from accessing the meter. After a visit to your location when we are unable to access the meter, WCEC will leave a door hanger to let you know of the specific reason the meter was inaccessible or obstructed. This may be followed by additional communication about your meter. Please contact WCEC to discuss your specific meter accessibility issue and recommended next steps. Potential remedies may be as simple as pruning a hedge or may require hiring a plumber or electrician, at your expense, to relocate the meter.

Structural renovations
Contact WCEC if your meter must be removed or relocated to accommodate additions or renovations (home additions, fences, decks, patios, barrier-free ramps) to your property. Never place a meter under a deck or porch. Do not remove or relocate a meter yourself, since it is extremely dangerous to you and your neighbors. In instances where a member requests the meter be placed in a different location, the member is responsible for the relocation costs to accommodate his/her location preference.


All meters are furnished, owned, installed and removed by the cooperative. Seals are placed on all meters, meter enclosures, or metering transformers for the purpose of security. Breaking these seals or tampering with meters, their associated equipment, or interconnecting wiring is prohibited. Unauthorized possession and use of a stolen meter; the unauthorized manipulation, such as inverting, relocating, or swapping of meter or registers; the internal tampering of metering device affecting the proper registration of energy consumed is also prohibited. Meter tampering is extremely dangerous and can result in electrical shock or even death. 

If the cooperative has knowledge that unauthorized interference, diversion, or use of utility service (meter bypass) is taking place, the cooperative calls the local police department to document theft to initiate legal action and then the cooperative disconnects service immediately. The member is required to pay all fees, deposit, meter damage and any estimated electric use prior to being reconnected.

If a member is found consuming electricity not registered through a meter provided by the cooperative:

  • The member will be held responsible and will be immediately disconnected.
  • The member may be required to pay for damages.
  • An additional meter deposit may be requested.
  • The cooperative may estimate billing for the period of time that the meter was not registering the correct consumption. The value of the diverted service shall be estimated based on the historic use of the member or the residence.
  • The member may be required to pay all additional costs incurred by the cooperative as a result of the incident.
  • The member may be required to pay a meter-tampering fee.

Any electric use that goes unbilled and /or unpaid increases the cost of electricity for all paying members of the cooperative. If you know of or suspect that someone has tampered with their meter, please contact WCEC immediately to report it.