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NO. 136. AN ACT RELATING TO ISSUANCE OF PERMITS FOR SELF-GENERATION OF ELECTRICITY.

(H.605)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1. LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS

The general assembly finds that net metering of small systems for self-generation of electricity is in the public interest in order to:

(1) Encourage private investment in renewable energy resources;

(2) Stimulate the economic growth of this state; and

(3) Enhance the continued diversification of the energy resources used in this state.

Sec. 2. 30 V.S.A. § 219a is added to read:

§ 219a. SELF-GENERATION AND NET METERING

(a) As used in this section:

(1) "Customer" means a retail electric consumer who uses a net metering system.

(2) "Net metering" means measuring the difference between the electricity supplied to a customer and the electricity fed back by a net metering system during the customer's billing period, using a single, nondemand meter or such other meter that would otherwise be applicable to the customer's usage but for the use of net metering.

(3) "Net metering system" means a facility for generation of electricity that:

(A) is of no more than 15 kilowatts (AC) capacity, or is a farm system;

(B) operates in parallel with facilities of the electric distribution system;

(C) is intended primarily to offset part or all of the customer's own electricity requirements;

(D) is located on the customer's premises; and

(E) employs a renewable energy source and utilizes a photovoltaic array, wind turbine or fuel cell electrical generating technology, or is a farm system.

(4) "Farm system" means a facility of no more than 100 kilowatts (AC) capacity that generates electric energy from the anaerobic digestion of agricultural waste produced by farming, and which is located on the farm where substantially all of the waste used is produced.

(b) A customer shall pay the same rates, fees or other payments and be subject to the same conditions and requirements as all other purchasers from the electric company in the same rate-class, except for appropriate and necessary conditions approved by the board for the safety and reliability of the electric distribution system.

(c) By March 1, 1999 the board shall establish by rule or order standards and procedures governing application for, and issuance or revocation of a certificate of public good for net metering systems under the provisions of section 248 of this title. A net metering system shall be deemed to promote the public good of the state if it is in compliance with the criteria of this section, and board rules or orders. In developing such rules or orders, the board:

(1) may waive the requirements of section 248 of this title that are not applicable to net metering systems, including but not limited to criteria that are generally applicable to public service companies as defined in this title;

(2) may modify notice and hearing requirements of this title as it deems appropriate;

(3) shall seek to simplify the application and review process as appropriate; and

(4) shall find that such rules are consistent with state power plans.

(d) An applicant for a certificate of public good for a net metering system shall be exempt from the requirements of section 202(f) of this title.

(e) Consistent with the other provisions of this title, electric energy measurement for net metering systems using a single nondemand meter shall be calculated in the following manner:

(1) The electric company which serves the customer shall measure the net electricity produced or consumed during the customer's billing period, in accordance with normal metering practices.

(2) If the electricity supplied by the electric company exceeds the electricity generated by the customer and fed back to the electric distribution system during the billing period, then the customer shall be billed for the net electricity supplied by the electric company, in accordance with normal metering practices.

(3) If electricity generated by the customer exceeds the electricity supplied by theelectric company:

(A) The customer shall be billed for the appropriate charges for that month, in accordance with subsection (b) of this section; and

(B) The customer shall be credited for the excess kilowatt-hours generated during the billing period, with this kilowatt-hour credit appearing on the bill for the following billing period.

(C) At the beginning of each calendar year, any remaining unused kilowatt-hour credit accumulated during the previous year shall revert to the electric company, without any compensation to the customer.

(4) For net metering systems using time of day, demand or other types of metering, the board shall specify the manner of measurement and the application of bill credits for the electric energy produced or consumed in a manner substantially similar to that specified in this subsection for use with a single nondemand meter.

(f) An electric company:

(1) Shall make net metering available to any customer using a net metering system on a first-come, first-served basis until the cumulative generating capacity of net metering systems equals 1.0 percent of the distribution company's peak demand during 1996. An electric company may interconnect additional net metering systems above this capacity if found by the board to be in the public interest;

(2) Shall allow net metering systems to be interconnected using a kilowatt-hour meter capable of registering the flow of electricity in two directions or such other comparably equipped meter that would otherwise be applicable to the customer's usage but for the use of net metering;

(3) May, at its own expense, and with the written consent of the customer, install one or more additional meters to monitor the flow of electricity in each direction; and

(4) Shall charge the customer a minimum monthly fee that is the same as other customers of the electric distribution company in the same rate class, but shall not charge the customer any additional standby, capacity, interconnection, or other fee or charge.

(g)(1) A net metering system using photovoltaic generation shall conform to applicableelectrical safety, power quality, and interconnection requirements established by the National Electrical Code, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, and Underwriters Laboratories. The customer shall be responsible for installation, testing, accuracy, and maintenance of net metering equipment.

(2) By March 1, 1999 the board shall adopt, by rule or order, electrical safety, power quality, and interconnection requirements for net metering equipment which uses generation technologies other than photovoltaic technology.

(3) The board may adopt, by rule or order, additional safety, power quality, and interconnection requirements for customers that the board determines are necessary to protect public safety and system reliability.

(4) Pending the effective date of requirements adopted by the board under subsection (c) of this section and subdivision (2) of this subsection, an electric company may allow a customer to interconnect a net metering system to be operated as provided in this section, if the company is reasonably satisfied concerning the safety and power quality of the system. The customer may then operate the net metering system pending application for and receipt of a certificate of public good under subsection (c) of this section, provided that such application shall be made within three months after the effective date of requirements adopted by the board under subsection (c) of this section.

(5) An electric company may, at its own expense, and upon reasonable written notice to the customer, perform such testing and inspection of a net metering system in order to confirm that the system conforms to applicable electrical safety, power quality, and interconnection requirements.

Sec. 3. EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect from passage.

Approved: April 21, 1998