PUC approves meter aggregation
The PUC has published the long awaited conclusion to this round of Idaho’s net metering battle. As a reminder, the first round rejected Idaho Power’s rate proposal, removed the cap on the net metering program overall, and clarified the process for connecting systems to the grid. Here in round two the PUC decided to allow net metering customers to use excess generation at one meter to offset consumption at another meter, aka meter aggregation.
The Order sets forth some specific eligibility criteria and mechanics.
- Can only aggregate meters for accounts held by the net metered customer.
- Aggregated meters must be on “contiguous property”. Contiguous includes property split by a road or railroad.
- Aggregated meters must be served by the same primary feeder.
- The electricity generated must be for the customer’s own needs.
- Customers must declare and prioritize the eligible accounts by January of each year.
- Customer must pay a $10 annual fee per aggregated meter.
- Customers must prioritize the aggregated accounts in the following order:
- apply excess energy credits to offset consumption at the same meter
- if extra credits remain, apply them to offset consumption at a contiguous meter on the same rate schedule
- if extra credits remain, apply them to a contiguous meter on different rate schedule
Much of the cost and complexity in these mechanics stems from Idaho Power having to manually account for meter aggregation instead of the typical automatic billing system. The PUC ordered Idaho Power to report back on the cost of upgrading the billing system and when this upgrade is “cost-justified”.