Arizona sets net metering rules


Mike Gleason,
Chairman, ACC
Phoenix, AZ, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — November 5, 2008 – Net metering rules that allow energy consumers to be compensated for generating their own energy through renewable resources have been approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC).

In terms of these rules, which are applicable to all Arizona electric utility companies, customers with renewable energy generation capabilities such as solar panels will have two-way meters installed that will measure both the electricity coming in to a property, and the energy going back to the grid. Once each calendar year, the customer’s utility company will issue a check or billing credit for the balance of any energy generated in excess of the customer’s usage.

Facilities that qualify under this plan are those operated by a consumer and located on his or her property – whether it is residential or commercial – that is intended to provide all or part of a consumer’s energy needs. There is no limitation on the size of the generating facility, but a facility’s generation will be capped at 125 percent of its total connected load.

The passing of the rules elicited a mixed response. Commissioner Gary Pierce said he was happy to see them move forward. “Net metering is a critical component of establishing a viable market for distributed generation in Arizona. As I sit here today, I cannot say that these rules will avoid all of the potential hurdles and pitfalls associated with connecting thousands – and hopefully hundreds of thousands – of small-scale solar systems to the electric grid, but I can say that the rules reflect the Commission’s best efforts to identify and address those concerns, and I enthusiastically support their passage.”

However, Commission chairman Mike Gleason said they ignore serious concerns that had been voiced by the major Commission-regulated electric utilities. “Discussion at (the) meeting revealed that the rules can endanger the electric grid, the meter on your house, and the wiring in your house. For those reasons, as well as their increased cost to other ratepayers, I had to vote ‘no’ on the net metering rules.”

The net metering rules are aimed at contributing to the Commission’s requirement that utilities generate 15 percent of their total energy from renewable energy technologies by 2025. The rules have been sent to the Attorney General’s office for endorsement.