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Net Metering

field of solar panels

What is net metering?

A net meter can measure electricity flowing to the utility from a customer’s renewable energy system on sunny days, when a customer is producing more energy than they are using. It can also reverse its direction to measure the amount of electricity used by the customer that is supplied by the utility. At the end of the month, the customer is billed for the difference or the ‘net’ amount of electricity used over the month’s time.  opens in a new windowClick here for a printable flyer on Understanding Your Net Metering Bill.

The value of the excess electricity generated by the solar energy system and delivered to Columbia Water & Light will be credited to the customer’s account at their current applicable electric rate. An  opens in a new windowInterconnection & Net Metering Agreement must be approved by the utility for the customer to receive a credit for the excess energy they generate. 

Understanding your net metering bill

house in Columbia, MO with solar panels on roofA City of Columbia Water & Light net metering bill reflects how much electricity a customer buys from Columbia Water & Light and how much renewable energy a customer’s solar installation has supplied to the power grid during a monthly billing period.

Below is a sample of Columbia Water & Light’s net metering bill and a diagram to help explain the way a renewable installation and our net metering system interact. Line items on the sample energy statement and the diagram are numbered and accompanied by an explanation.

  • 1 - Total kWh: The amount of electricity a customer receives from Columbia Water & Light
  • 2 - Customer kWhn to Utility: Renewable energy supplied to Columbia Water & Light from the customer
  • 3 - Net Billable kWh: Applies when Total kWh is greater than Customer kWhn to Utility (Total kWh minus Customer kWhn to Utility)
your net metering bill by the numbers

Net Excess kWh: Applies when Customer kWhn to Utility is greater than Total kWh. (Customer kWhn to Utility minus total kWh). If the end excess is
greater, the customer receives the credit. It is carried over into the next billing cycle.

net metering diagram
Metering Diagram Bidirectional Net Meter: Measures how much electricity a customer receives from Columbia Water & Light and how much renewable energy a customer’s system supplies to the power  grid.

Net metering 101

Columbia Water & Light electric customers that install a small-scale renewable energy generator of 100 kilowatts or less that sign an interconnection agreement are eligible for net metering. The equipment must be certified by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and the Underwriters Laboratory. Installation must follow the National Electric Code, Article 690. Please see the  opens in a new windowInterconnection & Net Metering Agreement or  opens in a new windowWind Net Metering Agreement for more details.

A renewable energy credit (REC), certificate or attribute is a tradable certificate, credit or attribute that is certified by an entity approved by the Missouri Public Service Commission. Columbia Water & Light purchases these RECs from the customer when a net metering agreement is signed by the customer. If a customer wants to maintain the solar RECs, the electric generating rate credit will be based on the avoided average energy market price at the Columbia pricing node instead of the customer’s electric rate.

Your Net Billing Statement

opens in a new windowNet Metering Agreement must be in place for the customer to receive a credit for the energy they deliver to Columbia Water & Light. For billing periods in which the net energy is less than zero, credits for the amount of net energy will be applied to the account. Credits can be carried over and applied to the next billing cycle, except for the March billing, in which any credits remaining after the March billing will be removed without compensation to the customer.  opens in a new windowClick here for a printable flyer on Understanding Your Net Metering Bill.


Columbia Water & Light will pay the customer’s current electric rate for the delivered solar generated electricity when the utility retains the Renewable Energy Credits (REC). If the customer wants to keep the solar RECs, the customer will receive a credit based on the avoided average energy market price at the Columbia pricing node.  opens in a new windowClick here for Solar Net Metering agreement and rebate application.

Wind and Other

For wind and other non-solar-powered renewable energy generation, the customer will receive a credit based on the avoided average energy market price at the Columbia pricing node.  opens in a new windowClick here for the Wind Net Metering agreement.

Columbia Water & Light should be consulted before installing a renewable energy system that a customer wants to use for net metering. It is important to make sure that the system will meet the guidelines of the Net Metering and Interconnection Agreement. Contact Columbia Water & Light by e-mail or phone 573-874-7325 with any questions.

For customer-generating units of 10 kilowatts or less, the customer is not required to carry additional liability insurance. For customer-generating systems greater than 10 kilowatts, the customer must carry no less than $100,000.00 of liability insurance that provides for coverage of all risk of liability for personal injuries (including death) and damage to property arising out of or caused by the operation of the net metering unit.

Electric line crews must know where all generating sites are located on the City’s electric distribution system to safely do their work. Each qualified net metering system will meet all applicable safety, performance, synchronization, interconnection and reliability standards established by the Missouri Public Service Commission, the National Electrical Safety Code, National Electrical Code, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and Underwriters Laboratories for distributed generation. The customer’s electric generating system must contain a switch, circuit breaker, fuse or other easily accessible device or feature located in immediate proximity to the customer-generator’s metering equipment that would allow a utility worker the ability to manually and instantly disconnect the unit from the City’s electric distribution system.

Contact Utility Services


701 E Broadway, Columbia, MO 65205




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