Change in solar energy metering rules pushed
A group of solar energy developers has sought to correct the payment system currently being implemented under the net metering rules, saying it ran counter to the Renewable Energy Law.
Net metering rules referred to the protocols followed by homeowners and small businesses that were allowed to generate their own electricity without being cut off from the main grid. For instance, a household owner can install solar panels on his or her rooftop, use the solar energy at daytime and switch back to power provided by distribution utilities at night.
In a statement issued Friday, Philippine Solar Power Alliance (PSPA) president Theresa Cruz-Capellan said that under the law, a “net-metering customer is only charged for his net electricity consumption and is credited for any overall contribution to the electricity grid.”
Capellan said the rules stated that “electric power generated by an end-user may be used to offset electric energy provided by the utility company to the end-user during the applicable period. Thus, the net-metering customer is only charged or credited, as the case may be, the difference between its import energy and export energy.”
In short, the net metering rules referred to the exchange of energy—one offsetting the other, which meant that the user should only be charged the difference between import and export, which is the net of the energy exchange.
Capellan, however, alleged that this was not how net-metering customers were paid.
Instead, a lower kilowatt price for exported energy, the generation charge, is applied to calculate the credits due to the solar rooftop homeowners.
PSPA thus urged the Energy Regulatory Commission to look into how credits are being calculated under the net metering system, stressing that participating customers are entitled to the true value of solar.
“Nowhere in the law is it specified that the preliminary reference price, the generate charge, applies only to imported energy,” the group said.”
Capellan further stressed that solar rooftop owners invested their savings in producing clean energy and unlike big solar utility owners, they were getting no tax holidays and other perks. Amy R. Remo
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