At a January 26, 2011 meeting the Regulatory Commission of Alaska invited comments on a proposed rulemaking for state interconnection standards. This matter has essentially been under investigation since 2006, resulting from a federal mandate (EPAct 2005) that states reexamine their net metering and interconnection policies.
The proposed rule requires those utilities required to provide net metering (those with annual retail sales of 5,000,000 kWh or more) to also provide interconnection procedures. The RCA provided no standard form or application, instead, each utility must provide their own procedures within the guidelines provided by the RCA. Each procedure must:
- Address any requirements for liability insurance coverage, provided such coverage is readily available and of a reasonable cost to the consumer;
- Set forth rules regarding the installation of an external disconnect switch in accordance with the following requirements:
- the external disconnect switch must be installed in a location readily accessible by utility personnel, as determined by the utility; or
- the utility may waive the requirement for the consumer to install an external disconnect switch if the consumer agrees to allow the utility to disconnect the consumer’s non-utility generation and the consumer’s load in the event of an emergency;
- Include an application form for interconnection of eligible consumer generation systems that is no more than two pages;
- Be based on national standards such as IEEE 1547 and UL 1741;
The utility may require the consumer to pay for the installed cost of the external disconnect switch and wiring, depending on the location of the EDS.
Those interested in participating in the rulemaking must provide written comments by March 4 and reply comments by March 16. See the order for information on how to file and the “Staff Report Accompanying Draft Regulations” for more information on the rule.