South Carolina passes net metering law, initiates regulatory docket

On June 2, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed SB 1189 into law, which implemented a statewide net metering mandate for utilities serving more than 100,000 customer accounts in the state.  The law allows net metering for systems up to one megawatt for non-residential accounts, and 20 kilowatts for residential customers, on property that is owned, operated, leased, or otherwise controlled by the customer.

The range of allowable system types includes solar photovoltaic and solar thermal resources, wind resources, hydroelectric resources, geothermal resources, tidal and wave energy resources, recycling resources, hydrogen fuel derived from renewable resources, combined heat and power derived from renewable resources, and biomass resources. It also stipulates that customers may carry forward excess kilowatt-hours (kWh) each month, for up to one year, when utilities must reconcile any excess kWhs in customer accounts at the utility’s avoided costs rate.

The new law allows utilities to recover their cost of providing electrical service to their customer base through general rates, tariffs, and any additional monthly charges or credits authorized by law. In order to assess these costs and implement the law, SB 1189 requires the Public Service Commission (PSC) to open a generic proceeding with respect to the net energy metering rates, tariffs, charges, and credits of electrical utilities, specifically to establish the methodology to set any necessary charges and credits. The PSC has opened Docket 2014-246-E for this proceeding and issued a notice of filing.  Interested parties must file a petition to intervene by July 31, 2014.

South Carolina is the 44th state to implement net metering.


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