Solar Today Spring 2016 : Page 18
net metering costs associated with their energy generation facilities. For example, the previous 1 MW cap on facilities is eliminated, provided that the projects do not have a significant impact on the distribution grid, are built to the size of the onsite load, and are subject to reasonable interconnection charges established pursuant to the CPUC’s Electric Rule 21 and applicable state and federal requirements. In order to comply with the statutory requirement of no significant impact on the distribution grid, the CPUC decision orders that customers be required to pay all Rule 21 interconnection and upgrade costs. NEM successor tariff customers with facilities smaller than 1 MW will have to pay a “modest one-time additional fee,” to be developed by the respective IOU. This is meant to allow the serving IOU to recover the costs of providing interconnection service. Notably, the interconnection fee will be waived for low-income homeowners participating in the Single-family Affordable Solar Housing (SASH) program. The successor NEM tariffs will also require customers to bear other increased charges. Whereas under the existing NEM pro-gram, customers only pay nonbypassable charges on the netted-out quantity of energy consumed, under the successor NEM tariffs, customer generators will be required to pay charges typically speci-fied as nonbypassable for departing loads on each kWh of electricity that they consume from the grid. Specifically, these nonbypass -able changes will include the Public Purpose Program Charge, the Nuclear Decommissioning Charge, the Competition Transi-tion Charge and the Department of Water Resources bond charges. These charges support programs that are used by and benefit all ratepayers, including NEM successor tariff customers. According to the CPUC, these changes to the NEM program will make it more fair and transparent as compared to its original program. The successor NEM tariffs will also require that that customer-generators be on a TOU rate (either the default residential rate or another available TOU rate). This change comports with the CPUC’s view that TOU rates are important to its overall approach to resi-dential rate reform. Specifically, the CPUC has set 2019 as the target year for beginning TOU rates for residential customers, which are to provide incentives for residential customers to adjust their electric-ity use to minimize impacts to the grid at times of high demand. The CPUC does create some flexibility for successor NEM tariff custom -ers who complete their interconnection application under the NEM program before default TOU rates for residential customers have been implemented. Such customers who take service under any TOU rate (including a TOU pilot rate) prior to implementation of the default residential TOU rates will have the option to stay on that TOU rate for a period of five years. Once default residential TOU rates have been implemented, residential customers who apply for a NEM successor tariff will be put on the appropriate default TOU rate, but may also switch to another available TOU rate. VNM and NEMA will continue as supplements under the suc-cessor NEM tariffs, with an expansion to the VNM program. Specifi -cally, whereas under existing law multiple service delivery points at a single site are allowed only under the MASH Program, under the successor NEM tariffs, this feature will be available to all multi-tenant properties As with the existing NEM program, customers who take service under the successor NEM tariffs will be eligible to continue taking service thereunder for 20 years from the date of interconnection of the customer’s generation facility. Customers who opt to make a one-time switch from their IOU’s existing NEM tariff to the succes-sor tariff will be allowed to continue to take service under the suc-cessor tariff for 20 years from the date that their generation facility was originally interconnected, but the switch will not reset the start date for the 20-year period. The Future While the CPUC’s decision makes significant changes in the NEM program, the design and implementation of NEM alterna-tives for residential customers in disadvantaged communities and the development of methods for effectuating consumer protection in relation to NEM programs was deferred until a second phase of the rulemaking proceeding. Otherwise, it appears that the CPUC’s determinations set forth in this decision will be the rules for cus-tomer-generators who begin taking service under a successor NEM tariff at least until 2019, which, as set forth above, is the target year for the institution of default TOU rates for residential customers. It is also the anticipated date for review of the NEM successor tariffs. The CPUC expresses optimism that by that time it will be able to develop (i) a valuation of exports to the grid from customer-sited renewable generation facilities that reflects the locational and tem -poral value of that generation and (ii) a more accurate valuation of the services provided by the grid when such customer-generators are importing from the grid. Californians can anticipate that the CPUC’s Energy Division will, over the next few years, conduct research, hold workshops, produce reports and engage in consultations with stakeholders that will provide a basis for the CPUC’s review of the NEM successor tariffs in 2019; for the time being, however, the CPUC has preserved retail net-metering within the service territories of California’s IOUs, and the robust development of customer generation facilities is likely to continue. ST 18 SPRING 2016 SOLAR TODAY Copyright © 2014 American Solar Energy Society. All rights reserved.