Electric Rates

    The Columbia City Council has the sole authority to set rates and charges for Columbia Water & Light services. The city reviews these rates and charges annually.  

    Billing Periods

    Your meter is read once a month by a Columbia Water & Light employee. Due to weekends, holidays or the length of the month, the total days between each meter reading may vary. It’s possible for your monthly usage to increase or decrease from the previous billing period even though your average daily use remains the same. If there is a billing error, it will be handled in the normal procedure, with a credit adjustment on your next bill. E-mail a Customer Service Representative (UCS@como.gov) or call (573) 874-7380. If there is a question about electric or water usage, the meter will be re-read. If you would like to lower your electric usage, request a free energy audit online or call (573) 874-7325.

    Estimated Bills

    On occasion, events beyond the utility’s control may force your home’s electric usage for a month’s billing cycle to be estimated. Locked gates, threatening dogs, covered or blocked meters and dangerous weather conditions can make it impossible for meter readers to reach your electric meter. Bills are estimated in mass when weather conditions cause a safety hazard for meter readers. As you build or landscape your home, think about how a Columbia Water & Light Meter Reader is going to access your meter. If you are fencing in your yard, is your meter inside or outside a locked gate? Does the landscaping next to your house allow room for someone to get to your meter to read it?

    Calculating Your Energy Consumption

    Meters are highly accurate instruments that are similar to an odometer on your car. One way to monitor your consumption is to read your meter and check it daily or weekly. If you read your meter at the same time each day, subtract the present reading from the previous day’s reading to determine the number of kilowatt-hours used in one day. By reading your meter at the same time each day, you will get an exact total of the electricity you have used. By noting high consumption activities, such as air conditioning in the summer, you will know where you are spending your energy dollars. Reading your meter often, along with careful observation of the weather and appliances being used, can help you manage energy consumption and evaluate the effectiveness of appliances.

    Requesting a mechanical meter

    A residential customer can request to have a mechanical analog meter installed but they are costly to read and maintain. Since mechanical meters are no longer domestically manufactured, there is a $75 fee to cover the costs of purchasing and refurbishing an old analog meter. A monthly fee of $5 will be charged to manually read the meter. A customer can switch back to a standard meter at any time and the $5 monthly charge will be discontinued. To request a non-standard mechanical meter, contact the City of Columbia billing office by calling 573-874-7380 or drop by their office at 701 E. Broadway. You will need to sign an agreement for this service.

    Access to utility data

    Columbia Water & Light does not know what customers are doing with the electricity supplied; only the amount used. Employees transfer usage data once a month directly from the handheld reader device through the City of Columbia’s secured computer network to the billing system. Columbia Water & Light does not sell utility usage data. According to the Missouri Sunshine laws, usage data could be requested and a fee assessed in order to facilitate the request. In order for this situation to change, the State of Missouri would have to change the Sunshine Laws to exempt utility data.