This fact sheet answers frequently asked questions about net metering in Missouri under the Net Metering and Easy Connection Act. Refer to the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) rule implementing net metering at 20 CSR 4240-20.065.
Which utilities must provide "Easy Connection”?
The law applies to all regulated electric utilities (Ameren Missouri, Evergy Missouri Metro, Evergy Missouri West and Liberty), municipal electric utilities and rural electric cooperatives.
Municipal electric utilities and rural electric cooperatives are required by the law to adopt policies establishing a simple contract to be used for interconnection and net metering. For systems of 10 kilowatts or less, the application process must use an all-in-one document that includes a simple interconnection request, simple procedures and a brief set of terms and conditions.
What is "Net Metering"?
Where net metering is available, it enables the customer-generator to export power that is in excess of immediate on-site needs to offset an equal amount of power supplied by the utility at a different time in the billing period. In this situation the customer is billed for the "net" amount of power used that is in excess of power generated on-site.
If during the billing period, the customer generates more power on net than is used during a particular billing period, the utility provides the customer a "credit" for the net additional power. The credit is based on the "avoided fuel cost," defined by the PSC as, “the incremental costs to the electric utility of electric energy, but for the purchase from the customer-generator, the utility would generate itself or purchase from another source."
Which renewable energy sources are eligible?
To be eligible, electricity must be produced from wind, solar thermal sources, hydroelectric sources, photovoltaic cells and panels, fuel cells using hydrogen produced by one of the above named electrical energy sources, or other sources of energy that become available after Aug. 28, 2007, and are certified as renewable by the Department of Natural Resources.
How much can the utility charge me for the Easy Connection?
The law provides that utilities cannot impose any fee, charge or other requirement not specifically authorized by the law or rules, unless it would also apply to similarly situated customers who are not customer-generators. The law requires the tariff or contract to be identical in rates, rate structure and monthly charges, and the utility cannot charge any additional standby, capacity, interconnection or other fee or charge that would be unique to a customer generator.
However, if a customer-generator's existing meter equipment cannot measure the net amount of electrical energy produced or consumed by the customer, the customer must reimburse the utility for the costs to purchase and install the additional equipment. The equipment can be initially paid for by the utility, and the total costs and a reasonable interest charge can be recovered from the customer over a 12-month billing cycle. A customer also must pay for any subsequent meter testing, maintenance or meter equipment change "necessitated by the customer generator."
The law allows a utility to require the system to have a switch, circuit breaker, fuse or other device that can easily be used to disconnect from the electric grid. For small systems (10 kilowatts or less), no additional controls tests, distribution equipment or liability insurance can be required beyond what is authorized in the law.
What can the utility require me to do to make an Easy Connection?
An application must be accompanied by a plan that includes a wiring diagram and specifications for the generating unit. The customer must submit a certification from a professional electrician or engineer that the installation meets the interconnection requirements of the various codes and other requirements. The utility is required to review and respond within 30 days of receipt for small systems (10 kilowatts or less) and 90 days for all other systems (up to 100 kilowatts).
Are there Missouri businesses or contractors that sell or install renewable energy systems?
The department publishes a list of renewable energy businesses and contractors from Missouri and adjoining states. The Missouri Renewable Resources Directory is available from the department’s website.