SB 246 - This act modifies provisions of the Net Metering and Easy Connection Act.
Currently, "customer-generator" is defined as the owner or operator of a qualified electric energy generation unit which is intended to primarily offset part or all of the customer's own energy requirements. Under this act, a customer-generator's unit shall be intended and designed not to exceed 100% of the customer's own energy requirements.
Currently, "retail electric supplier" is defined as an electrical corporation or rural electric cooperative. Under this act, "retail electric supplier" is defined as an electrical corporation, rural electric cooperative or municipal utility serving 20,000 or more meters.
Currently, retail electric suppliers are required to offer net metering to customer-generators under either a tariff approved by the Public Service Commission or a contract that is identical to rates and monthly charges assessed to customers that are not customer-generators. Under this act, such rates may also be offered under a rate structure that is reasonably calculated to prevent unfair subsidization by recovering the retail electric supplier's fixed costs plus demand charges for connecting the customer-generator's unit to the supplier's system. Further, this act allows the Public Service Commission or the governing body for other retail electric suppliers to require customer-generators to obtain certain liability insurance coverage for the installation and operation of their energy generation unit.
Currently, each qualified electric energy generation unit shall meet all applicable safety and performance standards. This act also requires such unit to be installed, maintained, and repaired consistent with such standards. Further, this act requires that all units utilizing battery backup be installed to operate completely isolated from the supplier's system, and that all units contain adequate surge protection that would allow emergency response personnel to manually disconnect the unit.
Currently, applications by a customer-generator for interconnection of a unit shall be reviewed and responded to by the retail electric supplier. Under this act, such application shall be reviewed and responded to by the supplier, unless the application is mutually agreed to. This act further allows retail electric suppliers to require a bond or other form of surety if the energy generation unit is not installed by a professional electrician or engineer deemed qualified by the supplier.
Currently, the generating capacity of all net metering systems shall count toward the respective supplier’s renewable energy portfolio requirement. This act also provides that such systems shall count toward any applicable federal law.
This act requires that all cost savings calculations made by sellers of qualified electric energy generation units be based on then-existing electric service rates of the respective retail electric supplier. Misrepresentation of a supplier's rates shall constitute an unlawful practice. Any person that is harmed as a result of such unlawful practice may recover both actual and punitive damages. Further, any person that knowingly or willfully engages in such prohibited act commits the offense of misrepresentation of electric rates. Misrepresentation of electric rates is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor.
This act is substantially similar to HB 340 (2017).