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Find answers to your frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the Net Surplus Compensation (NSC) program.

Understand Net Surplus Compensation

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This video answers your most common questions about the Net Surplus Compensation (NSC) program.


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What is the NSC program all about?
Your solar or renewable energy system is meant to offset your property's energy needs. Any extra electricity your business requires is automatically supplied to you by PG&E. At times, your system generates more electricity than your business requires. The unused electricity is sent to the electric grid. The NSC program pays you the fair market value for the balance of surplus electricity at the end of your 12-month billing cycle. California Assembly Bill 920 authorizes California utilities to offer special compensation for surplus energy sent back to the electric grid by commercial renewable energy systems.

How is surplus energy measured?
Each month, your PG&E SmartMeterTM measures the difference between the energy supplied to your property and the energy returned to the electric grid by your generator. The amount is recorded each month. Generating more electricity than you have used over the entire 12-month billing cycle makes you eligible for NSC. This amount can be viewed on the True-up statement that arrives on the last month of your billing cycle.

How can I tell whether I have generated surplus electricity?
View your True-up statement. Learn how to read the callouts on your statement. Download True-up Energy Statement (PDF, 4.4 MB).
Find the kilowatt hours (kWh) listed for total energy on the True-up statement. When the number is negative, your property has generated surplus electricity. This surplus means you are entitled to compensation. If the total energy amount is positive, your property used more electricity from the electric grid than your system generated over the course of the True-up period. You may be billed for this usage. In either case, your overall energy bills can be lower due to your green energy commitment.

What if I install a larger generator than my business needs?
There is no incentive for installing a system larger than your business needs. Compensation for any excess generation through NSC is set by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) at a wholesale rate. The rate does not justify the cost of an oversized system.

How much is surplus energy worth?
On June 9, 2011, the CPUC approved the NSC rate based on current market prices. The rate is $.03-.04 per kWh. Payments to PG&E customers began on October 21, 2011.

Where does NSC appear on my bill?
Any NSC you have earned appears on your annual net energy metering (NEM) True-up statement. The information is located in the "Net Surplus Compensation" box on the first page. It is also reflected in the amount due on your 12-month PG&E bill, and in the line item for electricity.

How do I receive my compensation?
Any amount you have earned for NSC appears on your annual True-up statement. The surplus is also incorporated in the line item for electricity on your PG&E bill at the time of your True-up. You can claim your compensation in two ways when the amount you owe is less than zero. You can leave the credit on your bill to apply toward future energy charges or contact PG&E to request a check. Any amount over $1 is eligible for payment by check.

When does this payment get processed?
At the end of your 12-month billing cycle, you receive a True-up statement, which lists any NSC you have earned. Check your monthly NEM statement to find out when your billing cycle ends. The dates of the True-up billing cycle are listed at the top.

Why is the NSC amount less than the credit on my NEM statement?
The credit on your NEM statement is calculated using the full retail rate for energy, which includes generation, transmission, distribution and funding for public programs. California Assembly Bill 920 mandates that at the end of the 12-month billing cycle, PG&E pay customers the wholesale rate for surplus electricity generated. This is similar to the rate we pay all other energy producers in the state.

What do I have to do to participate?
You don’t have to do anything to participate. As an existing NEM customer, you’re automatically enrolled. When your property generates surplus energy over the total 12-month True-up cycle, a credit is added to your PG&E bill at the time of your True-up.

Can I opt out of the program?
Yes, you can fill out a form to opt out of your NSC payment. Download Request to Opt-out of / Opt-in to Compensation for Surplus Electricity (PDF, 423KB).

What happens when I move into a property that already has a solar system?
Most customers who move into properties with previously interconnected solar or renewable systems are automatically enrolled in our NEM program and NSC. If your solar system is larger than 30 kilowatts, extra steps may be required. For more information, contact our Solar Customer Service Center at 1-877-743-4112.

What if my solar system is leased or owned by a third party?
You can still receive compensation. Giving up ownership of your renewable energy credits (REC) to a third-party owner causes you to receive less. The reason is because the compensation amount is made up of two components. The first part, to which you’re entitled, is the value of actual electricity generated. The second part is the value of the renewable attributes of this electricity, which goes to the REC holder.

Does this program apply to Multi-family Affordable Solar Housing and New Solar Housing Partnership low-income customers?
Yes, each PG&E account owner who’s in a tenant unit or part of a common area and participates in our Virtual NEM program is eligible for this payment.

What if I own more than one NEM property?
Each NEM account is treated separately. You can’t combine accounts.
PLEASE NOTE: You must be the PG&E customer of record to participate in the NEM program.

What if I am a direct-access customer?
Direct-access customers are not eligible for the program. You can contact your energy service provider or community choice aggregator directly for information about the programs they offer.