Net Metering Efforts Gaining Steam

Net metering, the practice of crediting utility customers for excess electricity they generate locally and feed back to the larger grid, is gaining greater attention, and regulators and legislators in both Michigan and Washington State are defining efforts to support the practice.

06/01/2005


Net metering, the practice of crediting utility customers for excess electricity they generate locally and feed back to the larger grid, is gaining greater attention, and regulators and legislators in both Michigan and Washington State are defining efforts to support the practice.

The Michigan plan, approved by the state's Public Service Commission in March, implements a voluntary program that will last for at least five years. It covers businesses and consumers developing local, renewable resources, including solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric and biomass technologies.

Net-metered customers will be credited for net excess generation at the utility's retail generating price. Credits in excess of current bills will be carried forward, limited to a 12-month billing cycle. Credits remaining at the end of the 12-month cycle will be recaptured by the utility, and the customer's credit will be reset to zero, to offset utility costs related to the program.

The consensus agreement outlining the program defines utility cost-recovery provisions, eligible generator technologies and interconnection standards.

In Washington State , legislators incorporated a net-metering provision into House Bill 1011 , which would unify the 63 different interconnection standards now active in the state. In addition to creating a single standard for all state utilities, the bill would expand net metering provisions to 100 kW. Additionally, the legislation describes procedures, timelines and technical specifications for connecting generating facilities of 10 MW or less to a larger distribution system.





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