Eligibility and Availability
Utah law requires the state's only investor-owned utility, Rocky Mountain Power (RMP), and most electric cooperatives* to offer net metering to customers who generate electricity using solar energy, wind energy, hydropower, hydrogen, biomass, landfill gas, or geothermal energy. Net metering is available for residential systems up to 25 kilowatts (kW) in capacity and non-residential systems up to two megawatts (MW) in capacity, whether owned by the utility customer or a third party.
The PSC has regulatory authority over RMP and was authorized by the state legislature to change certain aspects of their net metering rules, but the PSC does not have authority over the cooperative utilities. As a result, a February 2009 order issued by the PSC changed some of the net metering rules for RMP, but the cooperatives are not obligated to adopt them and may continue offering net metering under the minimum terms established by the state legislature.
Rocky Mountain Power
Aggregate Capacity Limit
The PSC's February 2009 ruling raised the aggregate capacity limit for RMP from 0.1% to 20% of the utility's 2007 peak demand. In establishing a significantly higher enrollment limit, the PSC also requires RMP to submit an annual net metering report, due by July 1 of every year, informing the commission of the number of net-metered systems, the capacity of each installation, the total capacity of net metering systems, and any problems or barriers with the net-metering tariff.
Net Excess Generation
For residential and small commercial customers, RMP will issue a kWh credit (at the retail rate) for monthly net excess generation produced by the net metering facility and apply that credit to the next billing period. Large commercial and industrial customers with demand charges that generate excess generation will be given a choice between valuing excess generation at an avoided cost based rate; or valuing excess generation at an alternative rate based on utility revenue and sales contained in FERC Form No. 1.
Any net excess generation at the end of an annualized billing period will expire with no compensation to the customer. The annualized billing period is a 12-month billing cycle beginning on April 1 of one year and ending on March 31 of the following year. Utilities may also establish one additional annualized billing period. RMP opted to make their additional billing cycle run from September to October for irrigation customers on Schedule 10.
Utilities must reserve the avoided cost value of any net metering credits remaining at the end of an annualized billing cycle, and apply those funds to their low income assistance programs, or another purpose determined by the governing authority.
Minimum Bill & Additional Charges
The PSC also ruled that net metering customers are not exempt from the minimum bill charge that all customers must pay. In August 2014, the PSC declined RMP’s proposed facilities charge for net metered customers until it has completed the legislatively mandated review of net metering costs and benefits.
If a net metering customer has multiple meters at one location or an adjacent location, the meters may be aggregated for billing purposes. The customer must notify the utility of the order in which they want the kWh credits to be applied to the meters.
The PSC also clarified in its ruling that all renewable energy credits associated with the electricity produced by the system remain with the customer, unless otherwise agreed to or designated by the customer.
Click here for Rocky Mountain Power's interconnection agreement and application for net metering service.
Aggregate Capacity Limit
Cooperatives are obligated to provide net metering until net metered systems account for 0.1% of the utility's 2007 peak demand.
Net Excess Generation
If a customer generates more electricity than the customer uses during a billing period, then the utility must credit the customer for the net excess generation at a rate equal to the utility's avoided cost or higher. Customer net excess generation is carried over to the next customer's next monthly bill during a 12-month period. Any net excess generation at the end of an annualized billing period will expire with no compensation to the customer. The annualized billing period is a 12-month billing cycle beginning on April 1 of one year and ending on March 31 of the following year. Utilities may also establish one additional annualized billing period.
Electric cooperatives must apply the avoided cost value of any net metering credits remaining at the end of an annualized billing cycle to their low income assistance programs, or another purpose determined by the Public Service Commission (PSC).
Electric cooperatives may not levy additional charges unless authorized by its board of directors. Members of a cooperative who disagree with the charges approved by the board of directors may file a complaint with the PSC after filing a complaint with the cooperative’s board or directors.
* Beginning in March 2008, electric cooperatives serving fewer than 1,000 customers in Utah may discontinue making net metering available to customers that are not already net metering. In addition, electric cooperatives not headquartered in Utah that serve fewer than 5,000 customers in Utah are authorized to offer net metering to their Utah customers in accordance with a tariff, schedule or other requirement of the appropriate authority in the state in which the co-op's headquarters are located.