Large electricity customers will no longer be restricted from
participating in net metering. The Ministry of Energy recently
posted an overview of proposed amendments to the Net Metering Regulation to the Environmental Registry for public comment.
As we previously discussed, Ontario has allowed net metering
since the Net Metering Regulation came into force in 2006.
The regulation required electricity distributors to allow customers
to deliver electricity to the distributor so long as the
electricity was generated from a renewable source for the
customer's own consumption, and from equipment with a capacity
of less than 500 kW. The amount of electricity delivered back to
the distributor is set off against the amount of electricity
consumed by the customer and the customer is billed for the
Under the proposed amendments, the capacity restriction of 500
kW would be eliminated to enable larger customers to
"right-size" their renewable energy systems to their
load. The Ministry notes that "[l]arger customers tend to
self-consume a higher proportion of generated electricity due to
higher daytime loads, aligning with the objective to match
generation to local demand, which can help reduce local load and
related infrastructure needs." To be eligible for net
metering, customers will still be required to generate power
primarily for their own use.
Other amendments to the Net Metering Regulation
Compensation: Net metering generators will
continue to be compensated at the same rate that they are charged
for consumption of electricity as consumers. The Ministry had
explored the idea of crediting consumers at a
"value-based" compensation rate but stakeholders
expressed concern that such a rate would not be as transparent as
using retail rates (see for example, feedback submitted by OSEA).
The description of the method used to calculate credits, which is
currently expressed as a formula, will be put in plain
Storage: Net metering generators will be
permitted to use
energy storage when paired with renewable energy generation.
Participants will be able to store and remit electricity from the
electricity distribution system and from a renewable energy
Agreements: Participants who have existing net
metering agreements will be given the option of entering into new
agreements, which reflect the amended provisions of the regulation,
or maintaining their existing agreements.
Single-Entity Virtual Net Metering: The
Ministry will establish a billing method for credit transfers
between multiple electricity accounts held by the same person or
corporation subject to certain conditions and limitations to be
developed with further consultation.
In addition to amending the Net Metering Regulation,
the Ministry is also proposing to undertake a cost-benefit
evaluation of the program every three years, if required. This
would coincide with the province's Long-Term Energy Plan cycle.
The Ministry also advised that the Ontario Energy Board is
exploring taking steps to facilitate the implementation of net
Developing a standardized net metering application and
Monitoring the program through the collection of net metering
information from electricity distributors at more frequent
Improving the availability of program information.
Comments on the proposed amendments will be accepted through the
Environmental Registry until October 3, 2016. The amended
regulation is set to be in force by July 1, 2017.
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The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market, composed of its generators, transmitters, distributors, retailers, electricity consumers and wholesale electricity market.
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