Net metering is a billing arrangement that allows customers to generate renewable energy onsite for their own use, and to receive bill credits for any surplus electricity sent to the grid.
The Ontario Ministry of Energy is proposing amendments to the 2005 Net Metering Regulation (O. Reg. 541/05). The 2005 Regulation establishes a consistent net metering program in the province by requiring electricity distributors to offer net metering to their customers upon request, in accordance with the Regulation.
A plain language description of the proposed amendments to the regulation follows:
1. Continue to compensate generators on the same basis as they are charged for consumption of electricity as consumers (i.e. volumetric electricity charges). Simplify (put in plain language) the description of the method used to calculate credits.
2. Require electricity distributors to carry forward positive bill credits for net-metered accounts for a consecutive 12-month period. This would extend the credit carryover period from 11 months to 12 months.
3. Remove the requirement that the equipment used to generate electricity be no greater than 500 kilowatts (kW), based on the rated maximum output capacity of the equipment. The intent is to enable larger customers to right-size renewable energy systems to their load. Larger customers tend to self-consume a higher proportion of generated electricity due to higher daytime loads, aligning with the objective to match generation to local demand, which can help reduce local load and related infrastructure needs. The requirement that the generator must generate power primarily for their own use and the proposed 12-month credit reset period will encourage right-sizing for all customers.
Establish a billing method for Single-Entity Virtual Net Metering (credit transfers between multiple electricity accounts held by the same person or corporation), subject to: account meters being located within the same electricity distributor service territory and within a maximum distance (e.g. a 3 kilometer radius). The Ministry of Energy is seeking feedback regarding limitations on the use of the electricity distribution system for Single-Entity Virtual Net Metering projects.
5. Allow for the use of energy storage when paired with renewable energy generation. In other words, storage and remittance of electricity from the electricity distribution system and from a renewable energy system would be permitted.
6. Allow participants who have existing net metering agreements prior to the effective date of the proposed updated Regulation the option of entering into new agreements which reflect the updated provisions, or of maintaining their existing agreements.
Nothing in this proposal would change the condition that the connection of a net metering facility is subject to electricity distributor license conditions governing the connection of generation facilities, including applicable provisions contained in the OEB Distribution System Code.
The amendments are proposed to be in force by July 1, 2017.