Capping net metering below 1% utility demand undermines popular program
Montpelier, VT — Renewable Energy Vermont Executive Director Gabrielle Stebbons issued the following statement after Washington Electric Co-op’s decision to limit net metering:
“The recent announcement by Washington Electric Co-op to limit net metering to 5kW systems– smaller than what is required the average Vermont homeowner– is disappointing.
“Vermonters, regardless of income, should have the right to net meter their own energy. And utilities should pay a fair rate on the energy generated by their customers, which includes the full benefit of these new, distributed sources of electricity, including the environmental benefits, transmission cost savings, peak-shaving benefits, and the fact that these systems are long-term generation assets that their customers are financing, permitting, and constructing. This move undermines those two principles.
“Our net metering program has been our state’s primary successful renewables initiative, fostering clean energy, lowering peak costs on summer days for all customers, and creating local jobs. As a result, Vermont has become 11th in the country for solar jobs. Unraveling a customer’s right to net meter would take us squarely backwards from our state’s adopted renewable energy goals of 90% by 2050 and is shortsighted as Vermont begins the shift to increased electrification of our other energy sectors.
“The fact is the few utilities seeking to limit net metering are doing so with less than 1% of their production coming from net metered energy and by doing they so threaten to fundamentally undermine a program that has just now begun to achieve success and create jobs. Our state’s municipal utilities and co-ops ought to be in the best position to promote the benefits of net metering to their own members — after all, they are owned by the very customers demanding this fundamental right, grounded in the best of Vermont’s tradition of self-reliance.”
As background: the Department of Public Service evaluation of net metering demonstrating the benefits to Vermont utilities. (Not including the local jobs, economic multiplier, and long term customer-financed generation asset of net metered systems.)