The State of New York Department of Public Service (PSC) has paved the way for the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to execute a newly-developed procedure for BPU customers to install and operate solar or wind electric generating equipment. The BPU solar and wind energy programs can now be finalized over the next several months to make net metering a reality in Jamestown.
In mid-May, the PSC staff recommended approval of a joint application from the BPU and the Village of Rockville Center filed on February 16 to amend their electric tariff schedules (rate schedules), establishing procedures and rates to allow the municipal entities to support solar and wind through a net metering provision.
A net meter (or bi-directional meter) differs from a standard electric meter in that it is not only capable of reading electricity being provided to the residence (normal) but also is capable of reading excess electricity that may be exported from a residence to the BPU distribution system. The net meter keeps track of the amount of excess energy produced at the location, the amount of electricity fed to the customer from the utility and, finally, the meter provides a “net” number at the end of each month.
Net metering is currently offered to customer-generators of investor owned utilities under the Public Service Law. The law does not apply in this respect to non-profit, municipal electric utilities such as Jamestown and Rockville Center. The proposed tariff filings are made by Municipalities on a voluntary basis to accommodate customers who choose to install small solar and wind generators.
Customers who receive service under BPU Service Classification (SC) Nos. 1 and 2 and are interested in installing solar or wind generation equipment that has a rated capacity of no more than 25kW are eligible for the net metering program. Additionally, the generator output capacity is limited to 100% of the customer’s annual energy load for the most recent 12-month period.
The program will be available to qualifying customers on a first-come, first-served basis, until the generating capacity for customer owned solar and wind electric generating equipment reaches a total of 500 kW.
“We’re pleased that the Public Service Commission staff has approved our desire to make the installation of solar and wind generation possible for our customers,” stated BPU General Manager David Leathers. “This represents another step forward in our ongoing commitment to drive change and to provide enhanced opportunities for our customers to utilize our diverse and varied program offerings.”
Now that the BPU’s application to the PSC has been recommended for approval, the utility is finalizing the program procedures for customers to follow who want to participate in this process. For more information about the program, customers should contact BPU Energy Efficiency Coordinator Dan Reynolds by telephone at 661-1646 or by e-mail at email@example.com.