Introduced by Representative McCullough of Williston
Subject: Public service; net metering; group net metering
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to increase from 15 kilowatts to 1.5 megawatts the maximum amount of power that may be generated by a participant in the net metering program, and to repeal the part of the program that allowed up to ten systems per year for customers that produce more than 15 kilowatts, but not more than 150 kilowatts per year. It also proposes to raise the cap on net metering systems within a service area from one percent to two percent of the 1996 load or the load of the most recent full calendar year, whichever is greater. It proposes to require an applicant entering the program to select to participate in net metering or to self‑generate and sell power. If the applicant selects to sell power, unless other terms are provided by contract between the parties, the sale shall be at a rate equal to the company’s average wholesale purchase price over the preceding quarter. The bill proposes to allow group net metering and to make it clear that each group and each farm net metering system shall be in the service area of a single electric company. It proposes to replace the provision that terminates extra credits at the end of the calendar year with a provision that requires credits to be used within 12 months or to revert to the electric company.
AN ACT RELATING TO EXPANDING THE ALLOWABLE SCOPE OF NET METERING SYSTEMS
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 30 V.S.A. § 219a is amended 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:
(A) 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; or
(B) on farm or group systems, using multiple meters as specified in this chapter. The calculation will be made by converting all meters to a nondemand, nontime-of-day meter, and equalizing them to the tariffed kilowatt-hour rate.
(3) “Net metering system” means a facility for generation of electricity that:
of no more than
15 kilowatts 1.5 megawatts (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, micro-hydro, fuel cell, or biomass gasification and farm electrical generating technology, as those terms are defined by the board.
system” means a facility
of no more than 150 kilowatts (AC) capacity
that generates electric energy on a farm operated by a person principally
engaged in the business of farming, as that term is defined in Regulation
1.175-3 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, from the anaerobic digestion of
agricultural products, byproducts or wastes, or other renewable sources as
defined in subdivision (3)(E) of this subsection, intended to offset the meters
designated under subdivision (g)(1)(A) of this section on the farm.
(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 as provided for in this section, and except for appropriate and necessary conditions approved by the board for the safety and reliability of the electric distribution system. An applicant for authority to generate electricity under this section shall make an initial determination as to whether to generate primarily for sale or to participate in net metering. If the choice shall be to generate primarily for sale, the applicant shall not participate in net metering. In this instance, unless different terms are established by a contract between the parties, payments for electricity generated shall be made to the generator on a quarterly basis and shall be set at a rate that is equal to the company’s average wholesale rate for energy purchased in the previous quarter. If the choice is to participate in net metering, all participants of a group or farm system shall be customers of the same electric company. In addition, the rest of this section shall apply.
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 with
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;
shall seek to simplify the application and review process as appropriate;
(4) shall find that such rules are consistent with state power plans; and
(5) shall include requirements that the board act on an application under this section within eight months from the date that the complete application for the certificate has been filed. If the board fails to make its determination within that time, the certificate shall be deemed to be granted.
(d) An applicant for a certificate of public good for a net metering system shall be exempt from the requirements of subsection 202(f) of this title. Any certificate issued under this section shall be automatically transferred to any subsequent owner of the property served by the net metering system, provided, in accordance with rules adopted by the board, the board and the electric company are notified of the transfer, and the subsequent owner agrees to comply with the terms and conditions of the certificate.
(e) Consistent with the other provisions of this title, electric energy measurement for net metering systems using a single nondemand meter that are not farm or group systems shall be calculated in the following manner:
(1) The electric company which serves the net metering 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, 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 the electric 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; and
the beginning of each calendar year, any remaining unused kilowatt-hour credit
accumulated during the previous year Any accumulated kilowatt-hour
credits shall be used within 12 months or 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) Consistent with the other provisions of this title, electric energy measurement for net metering farm systems or group net metering systems shall be calculated in the following manner:
(1) Net metering customers that are farm systems or group net metering systems may credit on-site generation against all meters designated to the farm system or group net metering system under subdivision (g)(1)(A) of this section;
Electric energy measurement for farm systems or group net metering systems
shall be calculated by subtracting total usage of all meters included in the
farm or group net metering system from total generation by the farm or
group net metering system. If the electricity generated by the farm or
group net metering system is less than the total usage of all meters
included in the farm or group net metering system during the billing
period, the farm or group
system shall be credited for any
accumulated kilowatt-hour credit and then billed for the net electricity
supplied by the electric company, in accordance with the procedures in
subsection (g) of this section.
(3) If electricity generated by the farm or group net metering system exceeds the electricity supplied by the electric company:
(A) The farm or group net metering system shall be billed for the appropriate charges for each meter for that month, in accordance with subsection (b) of this section.
(B) Excess kilowatt-hours generated during the billing period shall be added to the accumulated balance with this kilowatt-hour credit appearing on the bill for the following billing period.
(C) Any accumulated kilowatt-hour credits shall be used within 12 months or shall revert to the electric company without any compensation to the farm system.
In addition to any other requirements of section 248 of this title and this
section and board rules thereunder, before a
net metering farm or
group net metering system, including more than one meter may be
formed and served by an electric company, the proposed net metering farm
or group net metering system shall file with the board, with copies to
the department and the serving electric company, the following information:
(A) the meters to be included in the farm or group net metering system, which in the case of a farm system shall be associated with the farm buildings and residences owned or occupied by the person operating the farm system, together with the person’s family or farm employees, and which in the case of a group net metering system shall be associated with the buildings and residences that are part of the group net metering system, all of which shall be identified by account number and location;
(B) a method for adding and removing meters included in the farm or group net metering system;
designated person responsible for all communications from the farm or group
net metering system to the serving electric company, for receiving and
paying bills for any service provided by the serving electric company for the
farm or group net metering system, and for receiving any other
communications regarding the farm
system or group net metering
(D) a binding process for the resolution of any disputes within the farm or group net metering system relating to net metering that does not rely on the serving electric company, the board, or the department.
The farm or group net metering system shall, at all times, maintain a
written designation to the serving electric company of a person who shall be
the sole person authorized to receive and pay bills for any service provided by
the serving electric company
, and for receiving to receive
any other communications regarding the farm system, the group net metering
system, or net metering.
The serving utility shall implement appropriate changes to the farm
or group net metering system within 30 days after receiving
written notification from the designated person. However, written notification
of a change in the person designated under subdivision (2) of this subsection
shall be effective upon receipt by the serving utility. The serving utility
shall not be liable for action based on such notification, but shall make any
necessary corrections and bill adjustments to implement revised notifications.
(4) Pursuant to subsection 231(a) of this title, after such notice and opportunity for hearing as the board may require, the board may revoke a certificate of public good issued to a farm system.
(h)(1) An electric company:
Shall make net metering available to any customer using a net metering system,
group net metering system, or farm system on a first-come, first-served
basis until the cumulative generating capacity of net metering systems equals
2.0 percent of the distribution company’s peak demand during 1996; or
the peak demand during the most recent full calendar year, whichever is less
greater; provided, however, an electric company and a farm system may
jointly petition the board to exceed this capacity. In determining whether to
exceed the cap, the board shall consider the following:
(i) the costs and benefits of net metering systems already connected to the system; and
(ii) the potential costs and benefits of exceeding the cap, including potential short and long-term impacts on rates, distribution system costs and benefits, reliability and diversification costs and benefits;
(B) 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;
(C) 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;
(D) Shall charge the customer a minimum monthly fee that is the same as for 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;
(E) May charge reasonable fees for interconnection, establishment, special meter reading, accounting, account correcting, and account maintenance of farm or group net metering system net metering arrangements;
(F) May charge, if the capacity of the distribution system is insufficient for the designed generation, subject to determination by the board, a reasonable fee to cover the cost of electric company improvements necessary to distribute power;
(G) May require that all meters included within a farm or group net metering system be read on the same billing cycle;
May book and defer, with carrying costs, additional incremental costs, to the
extent that such costs are not recovered through charges, authorized in
subdivisions (D), (E), and (F) of this subdivision (1), directly related
to implementing farm
system or group net metering systems;
(I) Shall receive from a farm system, which is designed to produce less energy than the total annual load of the meters identified in subdivision (g)(1)(A) of this section, any tradeable renewable credits for which the farm system is eligible. All other farm systems shall retain any tradeable renewable credits for which the farm is eligible;
(2) All such requirements shall be pursuant to and governed by a tariff approved by the board and any applicable board rule, which tariffs and rules shall be designed in a manner reasonably likely to facilitate net metering.
(i)(1) A net metering system using photovoltaic generation shall conform to applicable electrical 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.
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. In developing safety rules
and any amendments to those rules, the board shall solicit input from
representatives of utilities and agents representing line workers.
(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 such application shall be made within three months after the effective date of requirements adopted by the board under subsection (c).
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.
the provisions of this section that define a net metering system as being of no
more than 15 kilowatts (AC) capacity, the board may allow net metering for up
to ten systems per year for customers that produce more than 15 kilowatts (AC)
capacity, but do not produce more than 150 kilowatts of power and are not farm
Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (f) and (g) of this section, an
electric company may contract to purchase all or a portion of the output
a farm any net metering system, provided:
farm net metering system obtains a certificate of public good
under the terms of subsections (c) and (d) of this section;
(2) any contracted power shall be subject to the limitations set forth in subdivision (h)(1) of this section;
(3) any contract shall be subject to interconnection and metering requirements in subdivisions (h)(1)(C) and (i)(2) and (3) of this section;
any contract may permit all or a portion of the tradeable renewable energy
credits for which the
farm net metering system is eligible to be
transferred to the electric company.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street