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net energy metering

Maryland Proposes Community Solar Pilot Program Regulations

sunset-solar-squareThe proposed regulations for Maryland’s Community Solar Pilot Program were published in the Maryland Register on April 29, 2016.  Here is a link to the Community Solar Pilot Program rules as published. Under the proposed rules, customers that subscribe to a community solar energy generating system will receive full retail rate credit for their subscription up to break-even (i.e. the point where their subscribed generation matches their usage). However, credit for subscribed generation exceeding a customer’s actual usage will be limited to the supply price (transmission and distribution excluded).

The proposed program structure includes: (1) an overall cap of 1.5 percent of 2015 Maryland peak demand; (2) annual capacity caps for each of the three years of the program; (3) a per-utility cap of 1.5 percent of 2015 Maryland peak demand; (4) capacity allocations to “small,” “open,” and “Low and Moderate Income (LMI)” categories; and (5) a limit of 350 accounts per community solar energy generating system.

Comments on the proposed rules are due to the Maryland Public Service Commission by May 30, 2016. For more information about Maryland Community Solar Pilot Program, please contact one of GreeneHurlocker’s energy attorneys.

New Maryland Working Group May Give Retail Suppliers Better Access to Meter Data

canstockphoto17677884The Maryland Public Service Commission has established a new Working Group to develop statewide protocols that will allow retail electricity suppliers to access their customers’ smart meter interval data from the utility on a near real-time basis. In a recent Order, the Commission established the Working Group in response to concerns expressed by the Retail Energy Supply Association (RESA) and NRG Retail Affiliates (NRG Retail) that while Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) collects the customer interval data, the manner in which BGE makes the data available to suppliers via the BGE portal is so cumbersome and burdensome that it is impossible for suppliers to access their own customers’ data. RESA and NRG Retail contended that BGE lagged behind other utilities in Maryland such as Pepco and Delmarva Power, both of which allow retail suppliers to pull hourly usage batch data on a next-day basis. The Commission directed the Working Group must file a report by March 1, 2016.

Suppliers’ access to their customers’ smart meter interval data in near real-time is a major advantage of smart meter deployment and will allow retail suppliers to expand their product offerings. Efficient data access allows retail suppliers to quickly process the data and present the results in plain English to their customers. This information exchange enables customers to make a connection between what they are doing at a given time and their electricity usage at that time, and they can change their usage behavior and shift their energy consumption as quickly as possible. Older data is simply less valuable and useful to customers, and makes it harder for retail supplies to “engage” with customers.

Technology has dramatically altered consumer expectations and changed how we buy products. We are now living in “Amazon time” where we expect instant access to timely information, from the number of steps we take in a day, to watching basketball games online, to getting election results in real-time. We can buy Alaskan salmon and have it shipped across the country for dinner tomorrow night, and we can buy handmade cannoli from the famous Mike’s Pastry in Boston and have it shipped next-day delivery for a dinner party. (Yes, I did that; yes, it works; and yes, they are awesome.) The electricity usage data available from smart meters is another example of how technology has changed the electricity landscape, and is in line with the broader consumer expectations of wanting access to information and products quickly.

If you have an questions about smart metering or the Maryland working group’s progress, please contact on of our Maryland energy lawyers.

SCC Proposes Amending Net Energy Metering Rules

English: Virginia State Corporation Commission...

Virginia SCC Agency Seal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Earlier this month, the State Corporation Commission (the “Commission”) issued an order to amend the Regulations Governing Net Energy Metering (the “Net Energy Metering Rules”) which establish the requirements for participation by an eligible customer-generator in net energy metering in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  As we discussed here, effective on July 1, 2015, Chapters 431 and 432 of the 2015 Acts of Assembly amended § 56-594 of the Code to, among other things, increase the maximum generating capacity of an electrical generating facility owned or operated by a nonresidential customer that may be eligible for participation in the utility’s net energy metering program from 500 kilowatts to one megawatt.  The Commission has proposed to amend the Net Energy Metering Rules to reflect the changes set forth in Chapters 431 and 432 (the “Proposed Rules”).

As proposed by the Commission, the Proposed Rules increase the capacity limit for participation by nonresidential customers in the net energy metering program from 500 kilowatts to one megawatt.  In addition, they prohibit the capacity of any generating facility installed after July 1, 2015 from exceeding the expected annual energy consumption based on the previous 12 months of billing history.  Among other things, the Proposed Rules also require any residential or nonresidential customer wanting to participate in net energy metering to notify its supplier and receive their approval to interconnect prior to installation of any electrical generating facility.

Each Virginia electric distribution company is required to serve a copy of the Order upon each of their respective net metering customers on or before June 23, 2015 and file a certificate of service no later than July 10, 2015.  Any interested person may comment on, propose modifications or supplements to, or request a hearing on the Proposed Rules by filing such comments or requests on or before July 31, 2015.

If you have questions about the Proposed Rules and how they might impact your business, please contact the Virginia energy lawyers at GreeneHurlocker for more information.