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Net Metering

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Net Metering
Oregon has established separate net-metering programs for the state's primary investor-owned utilities (PGE and PacifiCorp), and for its municipal utilities and electric cooperatives.

PGE and PacifiCorp Customers

The Oregon Public Utilities Commission (PUC) adopted new rules for net metering for PGE and PacifiCorp customers in July 2007, raising the individual system limit from 25 kilowatts (kW) to two megawatts (MW) for non-residential applications. (The rules do not apply to customers of Idaho Power, which provides net metering to Oregon customers pursuant to rules adopted by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission.) The limit on individual residential systems is 25 kW. Systems that generate electricity using solar power, wind power, hydropower, fuel cells, landfill or digester gas, biomass resources, geothermal energy, or marine energy (installed after 12/31/2014) are eligible. Net-metered systems must be intended primarily to offset part or all of a customer’s electricity requirements. Public utilities may not limit the total cumulative capacity of net metered systems without an express order from the PUC. 

Net excess generation (NEG) is carried over to the customer's next bill as a kilowatt-hour credit for a 12-month period. Unless a utility and a customer otherwise agree, the annual billing cycle will conclude at the end of the March billing cycle of each year. Any NEG remaining at the end of a 12-month period will be credited at the utility's avoided-cost rate to customers enrolled in Oregon's low-income assistance programs. Customers retain ownership of all renewable-energy credits (RECs) associated with the generation of electricity.

The aggregation of meters for net metering is allowed. There is no limit on the number of net-metering facilities per customer, as long as the capacity of all net-metering facilities on a customer's contiguous property does not exceed the applicable capacity limit.  Meters that are on different rate schedules are able to be aggregated.

Customers of Municipal Utilities, Cooperatives and People's Utility Districts

Oregon's municipal utilities, electric cooperatives and people's utility districts must offer customers net metering pursuant to Oregon Revised Statutes 757.300. Systems that generate electricity using solar power, wind power, hydropower, fuel cells or biomass resources are eligible. Net-metered systems must be intended primarily to offset part or all of a customer’s requirements for electricity. The aggregate capacity of all net-metered systems is limited to 0.5% of a utility's historic single-hour peak load.

Net excess generation (NEG) is either purchased at the utility's avoided-cost rate or credited to the customer's next monthly bill as a kilowatt-hour credit. At the end of an annual period, any unused NEG credit is granted to the electric utility. This credit, in turn, is then either granted to customers enrolled in the utility's low-income assistance programs, credited to the generating customer, or dedicated to an "other use."

Net metering is achieved using a standard bi-directional meter. Utilities may not place any additional standards or requirements on customers beyond those requirements established by the National Electric Code (NEC), National Electrical Safety Code (NESC), Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), and Underwriters Laboratories (UL). However, utilities may be authorized to assess a fee or charge if the utility's direct costs of interconnection and administration of net metering outweigh the distribution system, environmental and public-policy benefits of allocating costs among its customers.

In July of 2008, the PUC issued a ruling to clarify that third-party investors may participate in net metering, and that a third-party investor’s sale of electricity to a utility customer does not subject the investor to regulation by the commission.