PUC Seeks Comments on Net Metering Policy Clarification
Published on 6/30/2011
Filed under: Electric
HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today issued for comment proposed clarifications on the owner/operator requirements of net metering systems. The PUC proposes that customers who contract with a solar developer who owns the facility on the customer’s property and leases it back to the customer, and where the customer further contracts with the solar developer to operate the system, will still be entitled to net meter the facility, if the facility is designed to meet only the energy requirements of that customer.
The Commission voted 5-0 to approve a motion by Chairman Robert F. Powelson to allow customers who purchase power through a power purchaser the opportunity to net meter. The business model includes an alternative energy system developer installing a system for a customer while still maintaining ownership and performing the maintenance operations functions of the system.
“I believe that it should be the policy of the Commission to support access to alternative energy systems to as broad an array of consumers possible,” said Powelson in his motion.
The Commission’s net metering requirements set a standard for how electric generation suppliers and electric distribution companies (EDC) meter and compensate residential or small commercial customers who generate electricity using alternative energy sources as defined in the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) Act of 2004.
An alternative energy credit (AEC) is created each time a qualified alternative energy facility produces 1,000 kWh of electricity. The AEC is then sold or traded separately from the power. This makes it easier for individuals and businesses to finance and invest in alternative energy.
The AEPS Act of 2004 required that a certain percentage of all electric energy sold to retail customers within the Commonwealth be derived from alternative energy sources. By 2021, electric distribution companies (EDCs) and electric generation suppliers (EGSs) must supply 18 percent of electricity using alternative energy resources, which were divided into two tiers. The percentage of Tier I, Tier II and solar photovoltaic resources gradually increases over this period.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities to ensure safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protect the public interest; educate consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; further economic development; and foster new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
For recent news releases, audio of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at www.puc.state.pa.us.
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