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Policy Library

Lower Energy Bills with Expanded Net Metering

Expanded net metering puts money back into the pockets of people and localities who generate their own power through sources like solar and wind, by allowing them to sell the electricity they do not use back to the grid. It’s a win-win-win: lower energy bills, healthier communities, and more jobs created in the growing green economy.

The National Landscape

Passed in:

Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah (12), Vermont, Virginia (12), Washington, West Virginia

Introduced in:

New Hampshire

In The News

“In its first two weeks, EPB's solar share has attracted enough consumers wanting to buy into the project to already license about one fourth of the 4,408 solar panels installed in the utility's new community solar project in Chattanooga.... The licenses gives the customer the value of the output of a solar panel, similar to if the person put such a panel on his or her own home or business.”
“What can solar power do for a single state? How about 21% of its energy, $14 billion in economic activity, and over 150,000 jobs. At a discount to existing electricity costs. Without subsidies.”
“This decision gives farmers a practical way to lower their carbon footprint by maximizing the on-farm renewable energy they produce.”

Partners

  • Energy consumers
  • Localities
  • Businesses and universities
  • Environmental advocates
  • Renewable energy and energy efficiency companies

Opposition

  • Fossil fuel interests
  • Public utilities that are opposed to net metering infrastructure
  • Power producers that want to maintain their essential monopoly
Call us for real-time support using this library, problem-solving tips, and follow-up from our team of national experts:
The State Line
1-833-
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FAQ

Who does this help?
Aggregate net metering helps consumers by allowing them to generate renewable energy across multiple locations and sell the excess energy they do not use back to utilities. Since these customers often produce more electricity than they use, especially during the day, net metering lowers their energy bills, saving them money while exporting clean energy back to the grid. It’s a low-cost way to allow consumers, cities, and businesses—from farms to universities—to save money, boost the green economy, and create healthier communities in the process.
Is this high cost to my state?
No—this policy encourages local investment in renewable energy without any cost to the state. Consumers and cities will quickly recoup their initial investment in renewable equipment by generating their own electricity and selling the excess back into the electrical grid.
How does this help further clean, safe energy?
Electricity as a sector is responsible for almost 30% of all greenhouse gases in the US, and this policy is designed to give consumers, cities and local utilities a new opportunity to be part of the solution.
Print

Model Policy

SECTION 1 (TITLE):
This act shall be known as the Communities Lead on Renewable Energy Act.

SECTION 2 (PURPOSE):
This act allows individuals, cooperatives, and municipalities to generate renewable energy to offset their energy use and sell the rest in order to increase locally-owned renewable energy.

SECTION 3 (PROVISIONS):

(a) As used in this section:
  • (i) “Cooperative customer-generator” means an electric cooperative as defined in state law that owns and operates an electrical generating facility that uses renewable energy as its total source of fuel.
  • (ii) "Meter aggregation" means the administrative combination of readings from and billing for all meters, regardless of the rate class, on premises owned or leased by a customer-generator located within the service territory of a single electric utility.
  • (iii) "Municipal customer-generator" means a single municipality metered account that owns and operates an electrical generating facility that (1) uses as its total source of fuel renewable energy, (2) is located on the municipality's premises and is connected to the municipality's wiring on the municipality's side of its interconnection with the utility, (3) is interconnected and operated in parallel with the utility's transmission and distribution facilities, and (4) is intended primarily to offset all or part of the customer account's own electricity requirements.
  • (iv) "Net energy metering" means measuring the difference between the electricity supplied by an electric utility and the electricity generated by a customer-generator over the applicable billing period.
  • (v) "Net metering period" means the 12-month period following the date of final interconnection of the customer-generator's system with its utility and each 12-month period thereafter.

(b) Every electric utility shall develop a standard contract or tariff providing for net energy metering, and shall make this standard contract or tariff available to individual, municipal, and cooperative customer-generators upon request, on a first-come-first-served basis until the time that the total rated generating capacity used by all eligible customer-generators exceeds 5 percent of the electric utility’s aggregate customer peak demand. Net energy metering shall be accomplished using a single meter capable of registering the flow of electricity in two directions.
  • (i) For all customer-generators participating in meter aggregation, kilowatt-hours credits earned by a net metering system during the net metering period first shall be used to offset electricity supplied by the electric utility.
  • (ii) Not more than a total of one kilowatt by an individual customer-generator or two megawatts among a municipal or cooperative customer-generator shall be aggregated under this subsection.
  • (iii) Excess kilowatt-hours credits earned by the net metering system, during the same billing period, shall be credited equally by the electric utility to remaining meters located on all premises of a customer-generator at the designated rate of each meter.
  • (iv) Meters so aggregated shall not change rate classes due to meter aggregation under this section.
  • (v) At the end of each net metering period, any unused kilowatt-hour credit accumulated during the previous period shall be granted to the electric utility, without any compensation to the customer-generator.
  • (vi) An electric utility is not obligated to provide net energy metering to additional eligible customer-generators in its service area when the combined total peak demand of all electricity used by eligible customer-generators served by all the electric utilities in that service area furnishing net energy metering to eligible customer-generators exceeds 5 percent of the aggregate customer peak demand of those electric utilities.

(c) On an annual basis, every electric utility shall make available to the ratemaking authority information on the total rated generating capacity used by eligible customer-generators that are customers of that provider in the provider’s service area and the net surplus electricity purchased by the electric utility pursuant to this section. An electric service provider operating pursuant to state law shall make available to the ratemaking authority the information required by this paragraph for each eligible customer-generator that is their customer for each service area of an electrical corporation, local publicly owned electrical utility, or electrical cooperative, in which the eligible customer-generator has net energy metering. The ratemaking authority shall develop a process for making the information required by this paragraph available to electric utilities, and for using that information to determine when, pursuant to this law, an electric utility is not obligated to provide net energy metering to additional eligible customer-generators in its service area.

(d) The ratemaking authority may develop a time-variant tariff that creates the maximum incentive for ratepayers to install renewable energy systems so that the system's peak electricity production coincides with the state’s peak electricity demands and that ensures that ratepayers receive due value for their contribution to the purchase of renewable energy systems and customers with renewable energy systems continue to have an incentive to use electricity efficiently.

(e) Except for the time-variant kilowatt-hour pricing portion of any tariff adopted by the ratemaking authority pursuant to this law, each net energy metering contract or tariff shall be identical, with respect to rate structure, all retail rate components, and any monthly charges, to the contract or tariff to which the same customer would be assigned if the customer did not use a renewable electrical generation facility, except that eligible customer-generators shall not be assessed standby charges on the electrical generating capacity or the kilowatt-hour production of a renewable electrical generation facility.

(f) The ratemaking authority shall establish a net surplus electricity compensation valuation to compensate the net surplus customer-generator for the value of net surplus electricity generated by the net surplus customer-generator. The net surplus electricity compensation valuation shall be established so as to provide the net surplus customer-generator just and reasonable compensation for the value of net surplus electricity, while leaving other ratepayers unaffected.