May 2011 Connecting to the Grid Newsletter



Note from the Editor

Let’s All Celebrate Utility Bill Awareness Month

Ok, so I made that up.  As far as I know, Utility Bill Awareness Month does not exist.  But since we’re on the subject, I do think it’s important to look at your utility bill every once in awhile and understand all the various fees and charges that utilities are allowed to collect. And, because net metering can be an important revenue stream for a renewable energy project, it is particularly important for net metering customers to do so.  Not only do fees have the potential to affect a project’s economics, sometimes they can completely negate any benefits a customer might realize from net metering.  

The following is a list of examples that may help illustrate the importance of utility bill awareness:

Fixed Charge Recovery: This month the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission recommenced hearings on Case No. 10-00086-UT.  This case addresses a possible settlement that would rule on a fee imposed by the New Interconnected Customer (NIC) Riders, which the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) proposed in a June 2010 rate adjustment application. The NIC Riders impose a $0.08 per kWh charge for residential interconnected customers and $0.03 per kWh for commercial customers.  Considering the average residential retail electricity price in New Mexico is around $0.10/kWh, this would be quite a loss for net metering customers. [Continued in Newsletter]

State News in Detail


Northeast States         

Massachusetts creates DG website   


Mid-Atlantic States      

Delaware PSC issues proposed net metering rules

Maryland clarifies net metering eligibility for hydro power

Pennsylvania Township creates alternative energy zones to allow net metering 


Midwestern States

Indiana IURC issues final net metering order; NIPSCO reaches settlement on feed-in tariff and net metering program

Michigan PSC requires Consumers Energy to expand solar program


Southern States          

Georgia Power seeks to add more renewable energy 


Western States                        

California PUC reopens Rule 21 working group; CPUC also issues proposed decision on privacy of electricity data                     

Other States                

Alaska RCA issues final interconnection order 


Upcoming Events     



Miscellaneous News      

NREL Report: State policies are key to growth, especially for wind

California bolsters RPS

Google partners with DOE on charging station locators

Report highlights top renewable energy utilities

Download the full newsletter as a PDF:  May 2011 Connecting to the Grid Newsletter


While customer-sited net metering and interconnection policies are primarily addressed at the state level, they are also becoming important on a regional basis. This newsletter has been designed to provide state-level policy updates and capture emerging regional trends. Connecting to the Grid is a free, electronic newsletter published each month by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) and the North Carolina Solar Center at North Carolina State University. Click here to subscribe.

Editor: Laurel Varnado
NC Solar Center, NC State University


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