PUC to delve into net-metering


From the General Assembly:

STATE HOUSE –The Public Utilities Commission is preparing to review National Grid’s proposed plan to comply with a new law requiring the company to credit customers for excess solar or wind energy they produce.

The new law, sponsored by Rep. David A. Segal of Providence and passed by the General Assembly in June, requires electricity suppliers to use “net metering,” the practice of allowing customers on the electrical grid to be credited on their electricity bills for the value of electricity that they produce with generators such as solar panels or wind turbines but do not use. The new law is pivotal to the financing of wind turbine projects in Portsmouth and Barrington and will serve to encourage other such projects.

Without net metering, surplus electricity is pumped into the electrical grid and distributed to other customers – with the entity that produced it receiving no benefit. Representative Segal sponsored the legislation (2008-H 7809 Aaa) as a means to encourage more homeowners and businesses to invest in renewable energy generation projects.

The PUC has scheduled a pre-hearing conference Tuesday, Nov. 18, on National Grid’s proposed payment rates. While the meeting is procedural, it indicates that the law is on its way to taking effect, said Representative Segal (D-Dist. 2, Providence, East Providence.) The conference will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Hearing Room A of the PUC’s office at 89 Jefferson Blvd., Warwick.

“If we are serious about our commitment to encouraging renewable energy, we have to make sure that people get the full benefit of the energy they produce. They should get something back if they’re feeding their excess power into the grid. People will be a lot more interested in making an investment in renewable energy if they know they are going to get credit for their energy when they don’t need it all,” said Representative Segal.

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