Notice regarding rate adjustment which will take effect April 20, 2017.

Availablilty Charge to increase from $20 to $25 per month. Energy Charge to increase from $0.084 to $0.085 per kWh used.

Why does SWEC need to increase rates?

As a cooperative we operate on an at-cost, not-for-profit basis. We had an independent study done to determine where our rates needed to be to cover the costs to provide service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This study determined our current rates were no longer covering these costs and needed to be adjusted to do so.

The increase to the availability charge is to cover our costs to build and maintain our own system. The energy charge increase is needed to cover our costs for the energy we purchase from two of our power suppliers, Sho-Me Power Electric Cooperative and KAMO Power Electric Cooperative. Both Sho-Me and KAMO gave SWEC a rate increase in 2016.

What is the purpose of the availability charge?

The availability charge is a flat fee to all meters on our system and is needed to cover most of our fixed costs to make electricity available to your meter 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. These costs include poles, wires, transformers, vehicles and employees to build and maintain the nearly 41,000 services and 5,450 miles of line needed to serve you, our members. This also includes service and maintenance, right-of-way clearing, insurance, taxes and office services. With SWEC turning 78 years old in 2017, our system needs upgrades to ensure you continue to receive the reliable electric service you expect and deserve. Simply put, it takes a large investment to ensure you receive reliable electric service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The availability charge does not include energy usage. Energy usage is billed under the energy charge which is any kilowatt hours used during the billing period multiplied by the per kilowatt-hour rate.

How will this impact Prepaid metering accounts?

The daily availability charge for members on Prepaid metering will increase from $1.00 to $1.20. The energy charge for all kilowatt hours used will increase from $0.084 to $0.085.

Why is SWEC's availability charge higher than other utilities?

Even with this increase, SWEC's availability charge is one of the lowest among Missouri's electric cooperatives. A key factor in determining an availability charge is density or how many meters per mile of line a utility has. The more meters per mile of line the more the costs of building and maintaining that mile of line are shared among those connected to it. SWEC's density is about 7.5 meters per mile. For urban areas this density tends to be much higher than the rural areas SWEC serves. This higher density allows some utilities to have a lower availability charge.

What is SWEC doing to reduce expenses and costs?

Of the costs we can control, called operating expenses, we consistently rank in the top 10 percent in the nation and top 5 percent in the state among electric cooperatives. This means we have lower operating expenses than 90 to 95 percent of all electric cooperatives in the nation. This is a direct result of the decisions your board of directors and our employees make to help keep your electric bill as affordable as possible.

The cost of the energy we purchase from our power suppliers makes up about 65 percent of our budget. The one thing we can do to help reduce this cost is to reduce the peak demand or usage on our system. SWEC's Take Control & Save rebate program is designed to reduce this peak demand. By reducing peak demand, we reduce the cost of energy to all of our members. 

Why is my increase different than the notice amount?

The official notice amount is a simple average based on our average residential usage of 1,125 kilowatt hours per month.  If you use more or less than the average your adjustment may vary.

When can we expect the next rate increase?

SWEC's last rate increase was in 2013 - 4 years ago. It is very difficult to provide an estimate on any rate increases in the future due to many factors. The largest single factor that would drive future rate increases is our cost of power from our power suppliers. These costs make up about 65% of our total budget. Our wholesale power supplier, Associated Electric Cooperative works hard each year to be in the top 10 nationwide for the lowest wholesale power cost.

Why didn’t SWEC give more notice on the rate increase?

It is our goal to notify members as soon as possible when a rate increase is needed. During last year’s annual meeting in September, James Ashworth notified members a rate increase was possible however it was too early to tell. As soon as our board of directors determined a rate increase was necessary we began to notify our members through our website, the Rural Missouri magazine and paper and ebill messages.

Why is SWEC’s rate different than a neighboring utility?

We cannot speculate why other utility company’s rates are lower or higher than ours. Our rates are based on the cost of service study we performed to determine where our rates needed to be to cover our costs. As a cooperative we operate on an at-cost, not-for-profit basis.

Does SWEC offer a reduced or lower rate for low income members?

SWEC’s rate is the same for all members. However, we do have options to help our members budget and reduce their energy usage such as prepaid billing, budget billing, energy audits and rebates. We also work with local agencies such as MOCA, West Central and OACAC to assist our members in getting energy assistance funding.

With the new president and a change in administration why aren't you decreasing rates?

Our national organization, NRECA, is working with the new administration to guide policy decisions for the future. The availability charge increase is a result of SWEC's need to build and maintain our own system. The energy charge increase is a result of an increase from two of our power suppliers in 2016. As cooperatives, they are also not-for-profit and operate on an at-cost basis.

Single Phase Service (most residential and small commercial)

Availability Charge*


Energy Charge = kWhs used multiplied by:


Example cost of 1,125 kWhs


Three Phase Service

Availability Charge*

Minimum Demand Charge**



Energy Charge = kWhs used multiplied by:


Demand Charge per KWD
(no charge for first 20 KWD)


* The Availability Charge is a flat fee charged to all services to recover a portion of the costs required to make electricity available to your service 24 hours a day. Examples of these costs include the poles, wires, transformers, equipment, personnel, offices, etc. needed to build and maintain Southwest's system. The availability charge does not include electric usage. Electric usage is billed under the Energy Charge which is any kilowatts used during the billing period multiplied by the current per kilowatt-hour rate.

** The Minimum Demand Charge is figured at $0.75 x transformer KVA with a minimum charge of $25.00.

Automatic dusk to dawn lights are available with a $20 installation fee and are billed $7 per month with an existing service. Stand alone lights are available for a $120 installation fee and billed at $10 per month. All maintenance and energy usage is included in the monthly fee.

A late fee of 10% will be applied to any amount unpaid by the current balance due date.

A $20.00 fee will be assessed on all returned checks.

Collection Fees for Delinquent Accounts:

$20.00 - Service Charge
$20.00 - Reconnection Fee (during business hours)
$25.00 - Reconnection Fee (afterhours for meters with automatic connect/disconnect)
$180.00 - Reconnection Fee (afterhours when dispatching a crew is necessary)


Call us at 800-262-0326 or  Contact Us