Moncks Corner, SC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — August 30, 2007 – South Carolina’s Santee Cooper will pay its residential customers who produce excess renewable energy through solar panels or other means and get it into the utility’s distribution system, thanks to a new net billing renewable energy initiative approved by Santee Cooper’s board of directors recently. Renewable energy-generating customers will also see their bills adjusted to reflect times when they are producing all, or a portion of, the energy they need and not drawing from Santee Cooper’s generation.
Santee Cooper is in the process of expanding its low interest loan program to include the renewable generation qualifying under the net billing program. And as a way to actively promote and encourage use of this new program, Santee Cooper is making plans to offer zero percent interest loans to a limited number of customers who sign up for the RB-07 residential net billing rate.
The state-owned utility, already a leader in renewable energy production in the state, adopted this program to complement its existing conservation and renewable energy offerings. The purpose of net billing is to charge customers only for the Santee Cooper resources they consume – including power and the cost of transmitting it to the home – and to pay the customer for power they produce and do not consume.
“Santee Cooper produces and sells Green Power, which is electricity generated by renewable sources like landfill gas and solar,” said Lonnie Carter, Santee Cooper president and chief executive officer. “We see this next step – paying our customers for excess renewable energy they produce – as an important part of our efforts to meet the growing power needs of our state. As new business and industry open and new residents move in, we have to keep pace with power supply. Net billing is a way to balance the growing energy needs with our role as an environmental steward.”
The net billing program will begin October 1, 2007.
“We’re netting out the bill. If the customer is generating just what they need, then the meter registers that time of use information.” explained Marc Tye, manager of corporate analysis and pricing. “When they’re producing excess power, we want to pay them. If they use our power and they owe us money at the end of the month, we’ll send them a bill. If we owe them money, we’ll cut them a check.” Tye said checks would be issued for $50 or more; otherwise a customer’s credit would be applied to the following month’s bill, until the $50 level is reached.
Customers are responsible for the production and equipment costs of their renewable energy, which Tye said most likely would be solar installations or possibly a windmill. Customers are also responsible for insuring that their generation is connected to the Santee Cooper system in accordance with the procedures and requirements in the new interconnection standard that was approved by Santee Cooper’s board, along with the net billing program.