Re: [hreg] Electric rates: purchase vs. sell
In Texas there are a couple of approaches. I have seen the details from both side of the meter (EE working with both utilities and consumers).
One way, as discussed is "net metering." On a periodic basis -- typically monthly -- all electricity used - (minus) all electricity sent back up to the grid is totaled up. If you used more than sent up to the grid you are billed for that net usage. If you send up more than you used, you are not credited for the surplus, and you still pay the connection/meter fee.
A more complex system in some areas are the dual-meter systems. I have seen this in Co-op areas that are not regulated by the state the way the big boys are. This method requires two meters (and therefore two connection/meter fees), and often a dedicated phone or communication line back to the co-op (again another monthly fee). Means that fees alone consume $75 to $100 every month, before you can break even.
Under the dual meter game, while the incoming meter charges you at full retail -- typically around 13 to 17 cents a kWh now? The outgoing, or producing meter "pays" you at what is called the "avoided cost rate, which is about 2 to 4 cents a kWh last time I looked. Avoided cost is the cost of fuel (only) that was not consumed in generating the power. As the rest of the capital and maintenance cost of generation, the grid, and business costs still exist, which are part of retail cost, so the co-op does not want small producers free-loading them having to "buy back" power at retail price, as well.
After wandering in the dual meter game, most folks in co-op areas are thankful if they can just negotiate net-metering with their co-op and send the surplus power away and are happy with that..
So while the net metering scheme may seem like it is getting surplus power back for "free" from you, that is not why the big utilities do it. It is because they are making so much money from getting to screw most everyone in Texas, they do not care about the freaks and geeks who want to do the home sized systems, that tend to feed into the peak demand time of the day, anyway. They are playing in Billions of Dollars and the few folks playing in the small hundreds just do not matter. The big boys just want to put on a happy face and keep making money. So they just want to smile and wave to you as they pass by on the highway, while driving to the bank with everyone else's money.
Some states that have had traditionally higher electric prices -- NY and CA come to mind -- usually have some combination of this where the net metering system actually sends you a payment for surplus power you send.
But as Texas sort of tends to be a Corporat-ocracy, I would not expect actual payment to small time folks, anytime soon. Power companies make money selling you power, not buying it from you.
--- On Tue, 8/12/08, phil6142@... <phil6142@...> wrote:
From: phil6142@... <phil6142@...>
Subject: Re: [hreg] Electric rates: purchase vs. sell
Date: Tuesday, August 12, 2008, 1:11 AM
I have not experienced this personally myself but my understanding is that Net Metering (that is the 1 for 1 offset you mentioned) is the law in Texas so I think for residential installations that is what they have to do.
From: Henry Haynes <henryhh@sbcglobal. net>
To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
Sent: Sun, 10 Aug 2008 4:50 pm
Subject: [hreg] Electric rates: purchase vs. sell
Another question that has probably been covered while I wasn’t paying attention…..If a pv system produces enough electricity to reverse the meter at certain times during the day, I understand the provider is required to “buy it back.” Am I correct in assuming they buy it back at some wholesale rate? They don’t actually offset it 1:1 against what has been purchased, do they? However, if they a re going by a straight meter reading, maybe they do. Has anyone had any experiences w/ this?HenryNo virus found in this outgoing message.
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