Massachusetts Debates Net Metering Structure

MASSACHUSETTS – The Massachusetts’ Department of Public Utilities (DPU) continues to discuss implementation of the recently enacted Green Communities Act. Among other things, this act specifies that a customer-generator should be allowed to produce more energy than is needed on-site and allocate excess generation to other customers of the same distribution company. Through the commenting process, several utilities have also suggested that an interconnected distribution company should have the ability to purchase monthly excess net metering credits (essentially at retail rate) instead of passing them through to other customers. As this discussion continues it seems that the conventional appearance of net metering is transforming into something that could look more like a wholesale energy purchase agreement, wherein the utility would purchase “net metering credits” instead of energy.

If the DPU decides to rule in this direction, several further issues may need to be addressed, including: 1) net metered customers who over-generate may need to certify as qualifying-facilities with FERC; 2) energy sales may subject a net-metered customer to commercial insurance requirements; and 3) net metered customers may need to consider utility payments as taxable income. This will certainly be a case to watch as these issues continue to play out at the DPU.


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