Renewable Energy is a Vital Part of Ontario's Electricity FuturE!
Ontario has opened the electricity market to safe and clean renewable energy. The net metering program is designed to help you participate in this clean energy future - and to manage your energy costs. So, if you can generate any portion of your electricity needs through wind, water, solar or agricultural biomass, you need to know more about net metering in Ontario.
What is Net Metering?
Net Metering is a program whereby eligible customers with specific generation facilities can reduce their net energy costs by exporting surplus generated energy back onto the distribution system for credit against the energy they consume from the distribution system, which in turn is the "Net" total from which a customer's bill is calculated. Excess generation credits can be carried forward for up to 12 months to offset future electricity costs, Erie Thames Powerlines does not pay customer's for any excess generation.
Who is Eligible?
The net metering program was designed for any Ontario customer who generates electricity and meets the following conditions:
- The electricity generated is primarily for the customer's own use
- The electricity generated is transmitted to the customer's own consumption point without reliance of the Erie Thames Powerlines distribution system
- The maximum cumulative output of the generator does not exceed 500 kilowatts in size
- The electricity is solely generated from a renewable source or a combination thereof
What Type(s) of generation Qualify?
- Agricultural Bio-Mass
- Combination thereof
How will my bill be calculated?
Customers participating in the Net Metering program will have the net energy charge on their hydro bill adjusted according to the Net Metering Regulation. Essentially, customers will receive a credit or an adjustment on their monthly bill for the energy exported onto the utility's grid up to, but not exceeding the value of the energy consumed from the utility's grid.
If Net Metering customers export more power than they use during a billing period, their excess credit is carried over into their next billing period. Excess energy credits from successive billing periods can be carried-over up to a maximum of 12 months.
For GST purposes, the supply of energy to the customer and the exporting of energy on to the utility's grid are considered to be separate supplies. As a result, the customer will be charged GST based on the gross supply of electricity rather than the net supply.
What are the steps to get started?
Net Metering is a multi-step process. The following list outlines what you need to do in order to participate in the Net Metering program:
- Investigate renewable energy options (availability, costs, feasibility, payback, etc.)
- Determine the technical requirements and what size of system will suit your needs
- Understand the approval process
- Complete Erie Thames Powerlines' Net Metering Connection Agreement and Net Metering Application Form and submit to one of the following:
- Contact the Electrical Safety Authority, as they must inspect and approve your system.
What are the requirements to participate in the Net Metering program?
In order to participate in the Net Metering program, the customer will be required to meet all the parallel generation requirements for connecting Micro-Generation Facilities (10 kW or less) or other Generation Facilities (greater than 10kW and less than 500 kW), as applicable to the generator size, as found in Process and Technical Requirements for Connecting Embedded Generation Facilities in Appendix F of the Distribution System Code.
In general, the requirements include, but are not limited to:
- The customer must have a bi-directional revenue meter that records energy flow in both directions
- A two-register energy meter, measuring kWh in and kWh out, if the average peak demand is less than 50 kW during the past 12 consecutive months billing period; or in the absence of a demand meter, if the load is less than 150,000 kWh over the past 12 consecutive months billing period
- A four-quadrant interval meter, connected to a dedicated telephone line, if the average peak demand is between 50 kW to 500 kW during the past 12 consecutive months billing period
- The customer pays Erie Thames Powerlines all incremental costs for upgrading the meter and meter installation, where approved by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB)
- The customer must install an isolation device satisfying Section 84 of the Ontario Electrical Safety Code, located outside typically near the meter, and agree to the utility's staff access to and operation of this as required for the maintenance and repair of the distribution system.
- The customer, or their qualified electrical contractor, must submit an Application for Inspection to the Electrical Safety Authority
- The customer must have the generation facility inspected and obtain a "Certificate of Inspection" from the Electrical Safety Authority, either directly, or through their qualified electrical contractor, and provide a copy to Erie Thames Powerlines
- Erie Thames Powerlines must receive a "Connection Authorization" from the Electrical Safety Authority
- The customer signs an Embedded Generation Connection Agreement with Erie Thames Powerlines
- For Micro-Size Generators (10 kW or less), the generator interface protection must have protective relay settings in accordance with the Process and Technical Requirements for Connecting Embedded Generation Facilities in Appendix F of the Distribution System Code
- For generators over 10 kW, the generator interface protection must meet the requirements as stated in Process and Technical Requirements for Connecting Embedded Generation Facilities in Appendix F of the Distribution System Code
Where can I get additional information?
Electrical Safety Authority
The Electrical Safety Authority has published the Electrical Guidelines for Inverter-Based Micro-Generating Facility 10 kW and Smaller that is based on the requirements of the Electrical Safety Code as well as the Distribution System Code.
Ministry of Energy
Please download the Ministry of Energy's brochure Net Metering in Ontario. You can also call the Ministry of Energy at 1-888-668-4636 or visit the Ministry of Energy.