John, I know power engineering was your speciality, and I've never worked in the field. But I'm fairly sure kwh meters measure actual power, not volt-amps. The traditional mechanical meters have both voltage and current windings; if current and voltage are out of phase, that will be reflected in the number of watt-hours recorded by the meter. I think the newer "smart" meters can record not just kwh, but average current, voltage, power factor and a bunch of other stuff.
Of course, utilities can and do penalize customers with low power factors. Look at it this way: if the power company could charge based on volt-amps rather than watts, they wouldn't be too concerned about customers with poor power factors.