Have you ever seen this

Electrical runs thru meter at water heater. I have never seen a separate meter for the water heater. The meter did work.

Is that a utility meter?

It appears to be inside, so I’m thinking this is probably not something the utility provider monitors. I wonder if maybe someone had a spare laying about and decided to put it to use.

Yes all the time. Just had a post about this recently somewhere. Anyway, water heater is owned by utility or whoever. The homeowner pays a monthly flat fee. Here’s some info: Water Heater and Appliance Rentals | AWHR