Special interest groups want to change Missouri net metering law, unfairly shifting costs from the select few Missouri Electric Cooperative Member-Owners who have solar panels on their homes to you: the majority of Member-Owners who do not.

Our perspective is simple: that all Member-Owners are continuously connected to the grid, so all Member-Owners should pay evenly to maintain it. Special interest groups, however, have other ideas.

In the 2016 legislative session, special interest groups filed legislation and tried to use an initiative petition to obtain their unfair agenda. Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives and other utilities helped stop those special interest groups in 2016, but we know that they will soon be back to attempt these changes again.

That’s why we want to educate you on net metering and our “Fairness Down the Lines” campaign. Please take some time to watch the net metering video and to go through the facts below. Your involvement is vital to our success. If you’d like to stay up to date, send a message to the email address below.


01 What is Net Metering?

Net metering is a process that enables Missouri Electric Cooperative Member-Owners with a wind or solar system on their home or business to export power that is in excess of their immediate on-site needs.

If a Member-Owner generates more power than he or she purchases from your Cooperative during the monthly billing period, your Cooperative provides the member with a credit.



02 Why is a Diverse Energy Portfolio so Important in Missouri?

The energy output from a solar array or wind turbine does not typically coincide with a Member-Owner’s peak load: early in the morning on a cold winter day. That is why a diverse power supply including coal and gas is so important. The chart below shows that replacing Missouri’s existing baseload resources with 5,000 megawatts of wind or solar leaves a huge gap between what Member-Owners need to power their homes and what wind or solar would provide on a peak winter day.



03 What Proposals Have Been Made to Change Missouri Law and How do Those Changes Affect You?

Renewable interest groups and solar vendors are pushing for changes to current net metering statutes. Those changes would increase subsidies paid by Members-Owners who don’t have wind or solar. Key points of those changes include:

System Size: Current law limits net metering to systems of 100 kilowatts or less. Proposed changes would increase the size to 500 kilowatts or less. This would allow businesses to put in larger arrays that generate more electricity, reducing the kilowatt hours they purchase from your Cooperative. This shifts more costs to the rest of your Cooperative’s Member-Owners.

Retail Rate Credits for Net Excess: Paying the retail rate for a kilowatt hour unfairly shifts costs onto Member-Owners who do not have a solar or wind system. It also forces your Cooperative to pay a higher cost to purchase power than it would incur with its own generators.

Annualized Net Metering Billing: This has the same effect as paying retail for any net excess. Annualizing the net metering account would carry the monthly net excess forward as kilowatt hours at a retail rate, not a credit for kilowatt hours at avoided cost.


04 What is Your Missouri Electric Cooperative’s Stance on Renewable Energy?

Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives are open to alternative sources of generation. This is apparent with our leadership to bring the first wind farms to Missouri.

In 2015, wind provided 12 percent of our Member-Owners’ kilowatt hours. The 750 megawatts of wind power on our system is projected to produce the amount of energy used by about 181,000 Member-Owner households in a year. In addition, about 8 percent of our power needs in 2015 were met by hydropower. This is a clean and inexpensive generation source.

Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives’ “Take Control & Save” energy efficiency program is designed to help you use energy more efficiently, creating significant cost savings for you. The energy savings from the “Take Control & Save” program could power about 96,000 homes for a year.



05 What Makes Up Your Electric Bill?

Most of Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives’ Member-Owners have a fairly simple rate structure made up of two parts: a member charge and a kilowatt hour charge. The member charge is a fixed amount, and the kilowatt hour charge varies based on the number of kilowatt hours you use during the month.

The member charge helps your Cooperative recover a small part of the fixed distribution costs of serving you, including expenses such as administration, operations, and maintenance. However, the majority of revenue needed to cover your Cooperative’s distribution costs comes from your bill’s kilowatt hour charge.

Your kilowatt hour charge is made up of three parts — energy (kilowatt hour), demand (kilowatt), and distribution system expenses — which are shown proportionally in the graph below.


06 Why is Fairness for All Member-Owners so Important to Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives?

Most Member-Owners cannot afford a significant increase in their electric bills. According to the Associated Electric Cooperative’s 2016 Triennial Survey, 15 percent of Member-Owners have average annual household incomes that are less than $25,000, and 58 percent have household incomes that are less than $75,000.

Across all income levels, Member-Owners rank affordability as the most important factor for your Cooperative to consider, and 79 percent of Member-Owners are not willing to pay more for their electricity to help subsidize their neighbors who want to install small scale renewables.

Since the 1930’s, Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives have delivered safe, affordable, and reliable electricity with the principle that all Member-Owners should be treated fairly and should evenly contribute to the fixed costs that keep the electric grid operating.


07 What Do Missourians Think About Net Metering?

A survey poll was recently completed all across Missouri to see what Missourians think about net metering. The survey showed that 82 percent of Missourians think that reliable and affordable electricity is the top priority for net metering.

Most importantly, the majority of electric users in Missouri said that when it comes to proposed net metering law, fairness to all Member-Owners — having everyone pay their fair share of costs — is more important than offering subsidies to Member-Owners who have solar and wind systems.

Our 2016 Missouri Electric Cooperatives membership survey showed that nearly 80 percent of Member-Owners are not willing to pay more for their electricity to help subsidize their neighbors who want to install small scale renewables.