The power cuts hit at home frequently, I was too young to work.
But nearly every night there were power cuts, we had hurricane lamps to light the house and we read books. Imagine that now the H&S bunch would complain about the lamps and most kids aren't sure what book is.
The cost of replacing meters should be part of running costs. In the decades I have owned various properties I have never been asked for access to replace or even test the meter, many of which are 30-50 years old. I can't think of many organisations that sell goods by a measured quantity who aren't required to test their scales etc on a regular basis.