The Vermont Statutes Online
Subchapter 001 : General Provisions(Cite as: 30 V.S.A. § 8010)
§ 8010. Self-generation and net metering
(a) A customer may install and operate a net metering system in accordance with this section and the rules adopted under this section.
(b) A net metering customer shall pay the same rates, fees, or other payments and be subject to the same conditions and requirements as all other purchasers from the interconnecting retail electricity provider in the same rate-class, except as this section or the rules adopted under this section may provide, and except for appropriate and necessary conditions approved by the Commission for the safety and reliability of the electric distribution system.
(c) In accordance with this section, the Commission shall adopt and implement rules that govern the installation and operation of net metering systems.
(1) The rules shall establish and maintain a net metering program that:
(A) advances the goals and total renewables targets of this chapter and the goals of 10 V.S.A. § 578 (greenhouse gas reduction) and is consistent with the criteria of subsection 248(b) of this title;
(B) achieves a level of deployment that is consistent with the recommendations of the Electrical Energy and Comprehensive Energy Plans under sections 202 and 202b of this title, unless the Commission determines that this level is inconsistent with the goals and targets identified in subdivision (1)(A) of this subsection (c). Under this subdivision (B), the Commission shall consider the Plans most recently issued at the time the Commission adopts or amends the rules;
(C) to the extent feasible, ensures that net metering does not shift costs included in each retail electricity provider's revenue requirement between net metering customers and other customers;
(D) accounts for all costs and benefits of net metering, including the potential for net metering to contribute toward relieving supply constraints in the transmission and distribution systems and to reduce consumption of fossil fuels for heating and transportation;
(E) ensures that all customers who want to participate in net metering have the opportunity to do so;
(F) balances, over time, the pace of deployment and cost of the program with the program's impact on rates;
(G) accounts for changes over time in the cost of technology; and
(H) allows a customer to retain ownership of the environmental attributes of energy generated by the customer's net metering system and of any associated tradeable renewable energy credits or to transfer those attributes and credits to the interconnecting retail provider, and:
(i) if the customer retains the attributes, reduces the value of the credit provided under this section for electricity generated by the customer's net metering system by an appropriate amount; and
(ii) if the customer transfers the attributes to the interconnecting provider, requires the provider to retain them for application toward compliance with sections 8004 and 8005 of this title.
(2) The rules shall include provisions that govern:
(A) whether there is a limit on the cumulative plant capacity of net metering systems to be installed over time and what that limit is, if any;
(B) the transfer of certificates of public good issued for net metering systems and the abandonment of net metering systems;
(C) the respective duties of retail electricity providers and net metering customers;
(D) the electrical safety, power quality, interconnection, and metering of net metering systems;
(E) the formation of group net metering systems, the resolution of disputes between group net metering customers and the interconnecting provider, and the billing, crediting, and disconnection of group net metering customers by the interconnecting provider; and
(F) the amount of the credit to be assigned to each kWh of electricity generated by a net metering customer in excess of the electricity supplied by the interconnecting provider to the customer, the manner in which the customer's credit will be applied on the customer's bill, and the period during which a net metering customer must use the credit, after which the credit shall revert to the interconnecting provider.
(i) When assigning an amount of credit under this subdivision (F), the Commission shall consider making multiple lengths of time available over which a customer may take a credit and differentiating the amount according to the length of time chosen. For example, a monthly credit amount may be higher if taken over 10 years and lower if taken over 20 years. Factors relevant to this consideration shall include the customer's ability to finance the net metering system, the cost of that financing, and the net present value to all ratepayers of the net metering program.
(ii) In this subdivision (ii), "existing net metering system" means a net metering system for which a complete application was filed before January 1, 2017.
(I) Commencing 10 years from the date on which an existing net metering system was installed, the Commission may apply to the system the same rules governing bill credits and the use of those credits on the customer's bill that it applies to net metering systems for which applications were filed on or after January 1, 2017, other than any adjustments related to siting and tradeable renewable energy credits.
(II) This subdivision (ii) shall apply to existing net metering systems notwithstanding any contrary provision of 1 V.S.A. § 214 and 2014 Acts and Resolves No. 99, Sec. 10.
(3) The rules shall establish standards and procedures governing application for and issuance or revocation of a certificate of public good for net metering systems under the provisions of section 248 of this title. In establishing these standards and procedures:
(A) The rules may waive the requirements of section 248 of this title that are not applicable to net metering systems, including criteria that are generally applicable to public service companies as defined in this title.
(B) The rules may modify notice and hearing requirements of this title as the Commission considers appropriate.
(C) The rules shall seek to simplify the application and review process as appropriate, including simplifying the application and review process to encourage group net metering systems when the system is at least 50 percent owned by the customers who receive the bill credits for the electricity generated by the system.
(D) With respect to net metering systems that exceed 150 kW in plant capacity, the rules shall apply the so-called "Quechee" test for aesthetic impact as described by the Vermont Supreme Court in the case of In re Halnon, 174 Vt. 515 (2002) (mem.). The rules and application form shall state the components of this test.
(E) The rules shall not waive or include provisions that are less stringent than the requirements of subdivision 248(a)(4)(J) (required information) of this title.
(F) This subdivision (F) applies to an application for a net metering system with a capacity that is greater than 15 kilowatts, unless the system is located on a new or existing structure the primary purpose of which is not the generation of electricity. With respect to such a system, the rules shall not waive or include provisions that are less stringent than each of the following:
(i) the requirement of subdivision 248(a)(4)(C) of this title to provide a copy of the application to the Agencies of Agriculture, Food and Markets and of Natural Resources; the Department of Public Service; the Division for Historic Preservation; the municipal legislative body; and the municipal and regional planning commissions; and
(ii) the requirements of subsection 248(f) (preapplication submittal) of this title.
(4) This section does not require the Commission to adopt identical requirements for the service territory of each retail electricity provider.
(5) Each retail electricity provider shall implement net metering in its service territory through a rate schedule that is consistent with this section and the rules adopted under this section and is approved by the Commission.
(d) Commencing in 2021 and biennially thereafter, the Department shall submit to the Commission its evaluation of the current state of net metering in Vermont, which shall be included within the Department's Annual Energy Report required under subsection 202b(e) of this title and shall also be submitted to the Committees listed under subdivision 202b(e)(2) of this title. The evaluation shall:
(1) analyze the current pace of net metering deployment, both statewide and within the service territory of each retail electricity provider;
(2) after considering the goals and policies of this chapter, of 10 V.S.A. § 578 (greenhouse gas reduction), of section 202a (State energy policy) of this title, and of the Electrical Energy and Comprehensive Energy Plans under sections 202 and 202b of this title, recommend the future pace of net metering deployment statewide and within the service territory of each provider;
(3) analyze the existence and degree of cross-subsidy between net metering customers and other customers on a statewide and on an individual provider basis;
(4) evaluate the effect of net metering on retail electricity provider infrastructure and revenue;
(5) evaluate the benefits to net metering customers of connecting to the provider's distribution system;
(6) analyze the economic and environmental benefits of net metering, and the short- and long-term impacts on rates, both statewide and for each provider;
(7) analyze the reliability and supply diversification costs and benefits of net metering;
(8) evaluate the ownership and transfer of the environmental attributes of energy generated by net metering systems and of any associated tradeable renewable energy credits; and
(9) examine and evaluate best practices for net metering identified from other states.
(e) If a hydroelectric generation plant seeking approval as a net metering system is subject to licensing jurisdiction under the Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. chapter 12, subchapter 1, the Commission shall require the plant to obtain such approval through means other than by application for a certificate of public good under section 248 of this title.
(f) Except for net metering systems for which the Commission has established a registration process, the Commission shall issue a final determination as to an uncontested application within 90 days of the date of the last substantive filing by a party. (Added 2013, No. 99 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. Jan. 1, 2017; amended 2015, No. 56, § 12, eff. Jan. 2, 2017; 2015, No. 174 (Adj. Sess.), § 13, eff. Jan. 2, 2017; 2017, No. 42, § 7, eff. May 22, 2017; 2019, No. 31, § 6; 2019, No. 81, § 5.)