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Understanding Your Residential Bill

splayed US one dollar bills

The bill you receive from the City of Columbia is a combined bill for electricity, water, sewer and trash service.  The City of Columbia Finance Department’s Utility Customer Service office handles all utility accounts and billing.  If you have questions about your bill, please  opens in a new windowclick here for more billing department information.


  • Your meters are read once a month. Due to holidays or the length of the month, the total number of days between meter readings may vary. So it’s possible for your monthly bill to increase or decrease even if your average daily use remains the same.
  • This is what type of service rate you are being charged for electricity. There is a regular residential rate, a High Efficiency Heat Pump rate and a rate for an all electric household which is listed as Residential Heating (for those that have no natural gas service). A load management discount available to customers that have a switch on their central air conditioners.
  • The Fuel Adjustment Factor is an adjustment made to your electric charge which reflects changes in the cost of purchased power.
  • The difference between the present and the previous reading is how the usage is calculated. Electricity is measured in kilowatt-hours. Water usage is measured in hundred cubic feet (CCF). There are approximately 748 gallons per one CCF.
  • There are several different water rates for customers depending on if you are located within the city limits, and if you are a residential or commercial customer. The tap size is how big the pipe is that delivers water to your home or business. This determines your base charge per month.
  • The Payment-in-Lieu-of-Tax is an amount equal to the taxes that would be charged for utilities if the utility were privately owned.
  • Sewer charges for residential customers are based on the customer’s average water usage during the winter months. Sewer charges for commercial customers are based on water used each month.
  • Charges for refuse depend on the type of trash pick up the customer receives.  For example, there are different rates for bag pick up verses facilities with dumpsters.
  • The Storm Water charge is based on the type and size of the customer’s building. The money collected is used solely for storm water management purposes.
  • The Safe Drinking Water charge is a set fee for water testing by the Department of Natural Resources.
  • Sanitary Sewer Permit Fees are collected to cover the costs of the State of Missouri charges.

Contact Utility Services


701 E Broadway, Columbia, MO 65205



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