AB920 Net Energy Metering—FAQ
- What is the status of Assembly Bill 920?On June 9, 2011, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved the net surplus compensation (NSC) rate for net energy metering (NEM) customers who produce more electricity (kWh) than they use over their true-up period, usually 12 billing months. This payment was authorized by Assembly Bill 920 (AB 920). The NSC rate may fluctuate every month, as it is based on a rolling 12 month average of spot market prices. Based on current market prices, the rate would be approximately 4 cents per kWh.
- What is this program about? In 2009, the law governing the NEM program for solar and wind generators was revised by AB 920 to allow payment to those customers who have generated more electricity (kWh) than they used at their annual true-up.
- What if my true-up happened before the June 9, 2011 decision? AB 920 took effect as of January 1, 2011. So, all customers who qualify on or after that date will receive payment for their surplus electricity as soon as the regulatory requirements are in place for the payment portion of the program. We are working as quickly as possible to comply with these requirements so that we can begin to pay customers.
- What is surplus electricity? If during the course of your true-up period (typically 12 billing months), the electricity (kWh) exported to PG&E by your solar or wind generator is greater than the electricity you used onsite, you will have generated surplus electricity.
- How can I tell if I have generated surplus electricity?On your annual true-up statement, if the Total Energy amount (kWh) is negative, you have generated surplus electricity and are entitled to a payment. If the Total Energy amount is positive, you used more electricity than you produced over the course of your true-up period.
- How will I get compensated for the surplus electricity I generate? PG&E is in the process of determining the most appropriate method to provide payment to its customers who generate surplus electricity. We will provide more information on how you will be paid in the coming months.
- Why is my AB 920 payment less than the credit shown on my monthly NEM statement?The credit you see on your NEM statement is calculated using the full retail rate for energy. Several components go into this rate, including generation, transmission, distribution, and the funding of public purpose programs. When PG&E buys energy it pays a generator the wholesale rate for energy. Similarly, when you generate surplus energy, you will receive the wholesale rate for generation, like all other generators. The credit shown on your statement is calculated using the retail rate, which is higher than the wholesale rate because it takes into account several components in addition to the generation component.
- When will this program go into effect?The AB 920 program has been in effect since January 1, 2011. The CPUC requires that PG&E fulfill certain regulatory requirements before it can begin paying customers. We expect to begin paying customers sometime in 2011. We will publish a specific date as soon as we know it.
- How long will this program be in effect?This program will continue indefinitely.
- What will happen if I install a larger-than-necessary PV system?The NEM solar program is designed to enable customers to offset usage, not generate surplus energy. In order to participant in the NEM program, you are required to install a PV system that allows you to offset your annual onsite consumption.
- What do I have to do to participate? As an existing NEM customer, PG&E has automatically enrolled you into the program, and your eligibility for payment will start with your 2011 true-up bill. For example:
- If you have surplus electricity at the end of your typical 12-month true-up period starting in 2011, you will qualify for payment for any surplus electricity.
- If you do not have surplus electricity at the end of your typical 12-month true-up period, you will not be eligible for payment and there will be no change from the current NEM program. If you have surplus electricity in any subsequent 12-month true-up, you will qualify for payment and be notified of your eligibility.
Note that your true-up may be any number of months, as long as it ends in 2011 or thereafter. For most customers it will be a 12- month cycle.
- I moved into a house that has a solar system. How do I enroll in the program?Most customers who move into homes with previously interconnected solar PV systems are automatically enrolled in PG&E's NEM program and are therefore eligible for this program. If your PV system is larger than 30 kW, additional steps may be required to enroll in the NEM program. Please contact our Solar Customer Service Center at 1-877-743-4112 for more information.
- What if my solar panels are owned by a third party?If you are a NEM customer you will still be eligible to receive payment for any surplus electricity you generate. However, if you have relinquished ownership of your renewable energy credits (RECs) to your system's third party owner, you would only be paid for the wholesale value of the surplus electricity and not for the renewable component of the compensation program. This is because payment for surplus electricity under this program is comprised of two components; the value of actual electricity generated and the value of the renewable attributes of this electricity.
- What if I own the system and the renewable attributes as well? Will PG&E pay me for both components?The Commission has placed a hold on any payments for Renewable Energy Credits (REC) until the California Energy Commission has set up a process to verify and track these attributes. Once this process is in place, PG&E should be allowed to make an additional payment to you in exchange for the REC value of your excess kWh.
- Can I take advantage of this program if I am a Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing / New Solar Housing Partnership low income customer? Yes. Each PG&E electric account owner, whether a tenant unit or common area, which is under our NEM Virtual Net Metering program is eligible for this payment. If the electricity (kWh) allocated to your account over your true-up year exceeds your usage, you should be eligible to receive payment.
- I own more than one net energy metered property, does this program affect just me as the property owner or each property I own? Each NEM account is treated separately and you cannot combine accounts. Also, you must be the PG&E customer of record to participate in the NEM program.
- What happens if I sold my house and moved out of an area served by PG&E before my 2011 true-up? Will I still receive partial payment? The legislation does not make a provision for pre-2011 payment. If you move prior to January 1, 2011 your account would be trued-up under the pre-AB 920 program rules and you would not receive payment for any surplus electricity you exported up to that time.
- What happens if I sell my house and move out of an area served by PG&E after the 2011 true-up? Will I still be paid for the time that I generated surplus electricity? Should you close your PG&E electric account starting in 2011, your account will be trued-up, just like any other true-up, under the new program and you will be eligible to receive any payment due, should you generate surplus electricity.
- I am a direct access customer – can I take advantage of this program? You are not eligible for this program. You will need to contact your energy service provider or community choice aggregator directly for information about programs they offer.
- What will be the payment I receive? How is it determined? The net surplus compensation (NSC) rate may fluctuate monthly, as it is based on a rolling 12 month average of spot market prices. Based on current market prices, the rate would be approximately 4 cents per kWh.
- Sometimes I have a monetary credit at the time of my true-up. Does this mean I will get the credit?Not necessarily. Payment is issued only if the customer has surplus electricity (i.e., exports more kilowatt-hours to the grid than they use over their true-up period). It is not uncommon for a customer to have a monetary credit at the time of their true-up and actually not have surplus electricity. This can happen especially with solar energy which is often exported to PG&E during peak periods when electricity is more expensive and energy used is often supplied by PG&E's grid during off-peak periods when electricity costs less.
- Will I be able to get a credit for energy I generated before this new legislation took effect? No.
- Is there a minimum amount that PG&E will compensate me for? No. However, if your payment is less than $1 you will not be eligible for a cash payment, but will receive a credit on your next bill.
- When will I see this payment? All customers who qualify as net generators on or after January 1, 2011 will receive payment for their surplus electricity as soon as the regulatory requirements are in place for the payment portion of the program. We are working as quickly as possible to comply with these requirements so that we can implement this program. PG&E expects to be able to start issuing payments sometime in 2011. We will publish a specific date as soon as we know it.
- If for some reason out of my control—fire, acts of nature, etc.—I temporarily do not qualify for the new NEM program, will I be able to still participate? (In other words, I temporarily lose the ability to be a net-generator due to circumstances outside my control.)Participation in the NEM program is a requirement for inclusion in this program. If you subsequently requalify for NEM, then you will automatically be enrolled in this program.
- What other incentives are available to me to increase my net generation capacity? You could take advantage of any of PG&E's many energy efficiency program options. More information about these programs is available at www.pge.com
- What are RECs and what do I need to do to receive payment for my RECs? REC stands for Renewable Energy Credits and represents the renewable attributes of your solar or wind energy generation. The California Energy Commission has been charged with setting up a process for verifying and tracking these RECs. Once the REC program is in place, you may be able to receive a subsequent payment, in addition to the payment you receive for any surplus electricity you generate, based on the value of your RECs.
- Will this new program increase my rates? It is not known at this time how this program will impact electric rates.
- Does this affect all electric utilities in California or just PG&E? All investor owned utilities in California are required to provide this program.
- If I have any more questions or want to make changes to my account, how can I contact PG&E? Contact our Solar Customer Service Center at 1-877-743-4112