BCSEA Supports Net Metering
March 12, 2020
BCSEA filed its final argument today opposing BC Hydro’s application to the BC Utilities Commission to ban customers who propose “oversized generation” from joining the Net Metering program. For background, see:
BCSEA expressed strong support for the continuation and expansion of BC Hydro’s Net Metering Program. BCSEA emphasized that the B.C. Government’s CleanBC Plan lauds the Net Metering Program as a measure to support, encourage and enable the transition to clean energy, aligned with the Province’s electrification goals and emission reduction targets.
BCSEA told the Commission that (a) new Net Metering participants should be allowed to produce intentional annual net surplus energy, and (b) the price for this energy should be updated to reflect the current financial value to all customers, to prevent cross-subsidization.
Most existing Net Metering participants aren’t impacted by the ban on, or the price for, annual net surplus energy. They don’t generate more power than they use over the course of a full year, although in a given month, they may deliver more power to BC Hydro than they use (for which they get a kWh credit on their next bill). This is likely to remain the case for most new NM participants in the future.
However, BCSEA commended the small but growing number of existing or would-be Net Metering participants who are operating, or who want to operate, a small-scale clean renewable electricity generation facility on their own site in order not only to offset their own load but to contribute annual net surplus energy to the BC Hydro system. BCSEA argued that these customers are not motivated by profit but by a desire to create and use energy sustainably at a personal and local community level. BCSEA called for an end to the temporary ban in place since April 2018 against approval of applications where the size of the generator is likely to produce more power than the customer uses over the course a year.
BCSEA also supported a fair transition period of at least five years in which the current price (9.99 cents/kWh) Hydro pays for annual surplus energy would be retained for existing Net Metering participants who produce an annual net surplus. These participants incurred significant costs in establishing their generation facilities, and BCSEA said they should be recognized for being early adopters of innovative energy solutions to the benefit of B.C. and BC Hydro customers.
The Commission’s decision is expected to be issued within a few months.
By Bill Andrews, BCSEA’s lawyer in BCUC proceedings
BCUC Webpage re BC Hydro Net Metering Application: