Wisconsin PSC expands net metering for Xcel customers

On December 22, 2011, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission strengthened the net metering offering of Northern State’s Power Company of Wisconsin (operating as Xcel Energy) by increasing its allowable system size limit. Starting in January, the ceiling on qualifying systems increases from 20 kilowatts to 100 kilowatts in size.

The order also allows customers to net their generation and consumption annually, “as this better meets customer expectations and encourages the installation of small distributed renewable generation.”  In other words, customers are allowed to roll over kWh credits from month to month, until the beginning of summer, when the utility will reconcile the account at the utility’s avoided cost rate.  Previously, monthly net excess generation (NEG) was monetized (at the retail rate for renewables and avoided cost rate for non-renewables) and applied to the customer’s next bill.  If the NEG exceeded $25, the utility was required to issue a check to the customer. Existing net metering customers that were enrolled under the former 20 kW limit may continue under the same tariff, at least until the PSC issues an order in Xcel’s next general rate case.

Through this proceeding, Xcel also requested that net metering generation facilities be required to match the customer’s annual load requirements.  The Commission denied this request.

The WI PSC also accepted Xcel’s proposal to modify its existing Advanced Renewable Tariff (ART). The modified ART would expand eligible technologies from three to four, with the addition of solar, and introduce a tiered structure that Xcel believes better matches production costs with generator size and reduces the levels of uncertainty around what technologies qualify for the tariff and the tariff’s subscription cap.  Though it expanded the ART, the order also granted Xcel permission to cancel the utility’s BuyBack program, because of a lack of customer participation over the eleven years of the tariff’s existence.

Source: WI PSC order for Docket 4220-UR-117


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