IS NET METERING REALLY A THREAT FOR UTILITIES?

​This ​blog post is from 2014, but explains in detail why there is currently so much controversy over raising the upper limits on how much the utilities have to pay back to consumers who have solar installations on their homes/companies (“net metering”). Energy from solar power is becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. The utilities claim that this causes them to lose revenue, and to pay for their general expenses, they’ll have to pass higher rates on to consumers who don’t have solar panels. The Koch brothers, Edison Electric, and other groups that represent the industry side of the utility business have gone so far as to say solar homeowners should be taxed for the utilities’ lost revenue. However, this article makes the case for raising the caps on net metering, and thereby incentivize the solar industry to expand even more.

From contributor Evan Leonard​ in​ The Artisan Blog (for Artisan Electric)​, June 23, 2014:

Argument #1: Rooftop solar causes utilities to lose revenue and pass those costs to non-solar ratepayers.

Several studies have come out over the last few years proving this claim to be false. Studies in California, New York, Vermont and Texas all show that utilities actually make money in the long run when their ratepayers install solar, and do not shift costs to non-solar ratepayers even in the short term.

Argument #2: Too much solar creates an unstable grid.

Again, the opposite turns out to be true. In fact, net metering policies create a smoother demand curve for electricity and allow utilities to better manage their peak electricity loads. By encouraging generation near the point of consumption, net metering also reduces the strain on distribution systems and prevents losses in long-distance electricity transmission and distribution.

Read the original blog post.

eversource bidirectional meter

(diagram from Eversource)
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