Net Metering

The Net Metering Program has been created to allow Newfoundland & Labrador electricity customers to generate power from small scale renewable sources for their own use and supply surplus power to their electricity utility when available.

What is Net Metering?

Net metering is a metering arrangement that allows customers who own small, renewable energy generators, up to 100kW, and have been approved by Hydro, to generate power for their own use and then send any surplus energy onto the distribution system. The utility determines the net electricity consumption of a customer based on a record of the customer’s energy purchases from the utility and the amount of energy exported from the customer’s generation to the distribution system.

How do I take advantage of Net Metering?

Beginning July 1 – Hydro will begin accepting Net Metering applications.

There are a few things you need to do before connecting as a Net Metering customer.

First, connect with a qualified equipment installer to gather information on your equipment requirements and review Hydro’s Interconnection Requirements.

Then, submit a Net Metering Application Form to Hydro.  Please give our customer service team a call (1-888-737-1296) to discuss project plans before purchasing or installing equipment.  Your submission will be reviewed, and once approved an engineering review will be completed and an interconnection agreement can be signed.

Hydro suggests that an application should be submitted to Hydro prior to any major investment in equipment/infrastructure to ensure the customer is aware of the minimum technical specifications required.


 

Frequently Asked Questions

We know you have lots of questions.  Click the categories below for answers.

General

What is Net Metering?

Net metering is a metering arrangement that allows customers who own small, renewable energy generators, up to 100kW, and have been approved by Hydro, to generate power for their own use and then send any surplus energy onto the distribution system. The utility determines the net electricity consumption of a customer based on a record of the customer’s energy purchases from the utility and the amount of energy exported from the customer’s generation to the distribution system.

How does Net Metering work?

Once connected to the distribution system, Hydro will monitor the customer’s meter and then subtract the amount of electricity supplied to the grid from the amount that is taken from the grid. The customer is then billed the “net” difference between these two amounts. In this scenario, customers are only billed for their positive “net consumption”, which is defined as their total consumption of electricity minus their total generation provided to the grid in a given billing cycle, as shown by a positive meter reading. Net metering also allows a customer to send excess electricity generated from their renewable resources to the distribution system, providing a credit that can be used for future energy requirements. At the annual anniversary date of connection, any unused credited energy will be credited to the customer as a bill credit.

Who is eligible?

The Net Metering Program will be available to residential and commercial customers who apply and meet the eligibility criteria. Generally, eligible customers will own and operate approved renewable generation facilities that may include wind, solar, photovoltaic, geothermal, biomass, tidal, or wave energy.

To obtain net metering service, customers will be required to submit an application form specifying the characteristics of their service requirements and their generating equipment. The application process will enable Hydro to establish the technical and operating requirements for individual installations, and to determine what electrical system additions or modifications may be required to accommodate net metering at the customer’s premises.

Hydro is accepting applications, beginning July 1, 2017.  Application form is available here.


Will I be able to supply my own power needs during a power outage?

If you want to operate your system during a power outage, the generating system must have special transfer and isolating capabilities installed. During an outage, your generating facility must be disconnected from the distribution system to protect our crews as they work on the grid to restore power. It can be reconnected to our distribution system only after it has been restored and stabilized. Details outlining these requirements can be found in the Interconnection Guidelines document.

Application Process

How do I apply for the Net Metering Service Option?

The net metering application form is available on Hydro’s website at here. Alternatively you can call a Customer Service Representative on 1-888-737-1296 and they will send you the application form, Interconnection Guidelines and Interconnection Agreement documents.

A completed application can be sent to Hydro:

Via email a:
customerservices@nlh.nl.ca

By mail at:
Hydro Customer Service
Hydro Place, 500 Columbus Drive
P.O. Box 12400
St. John’s, NL
A1B 4K7

Residential and commercial customers considering the Net Metering Service Option should discuss project plans with Hydro before purchasing or installing equipment as requirements for specific systems will vary depending on capacity, generation type, location and the existing distribution infrastructure in the vicinity of the generation facility. We’re here to help ensure all net metering systems are designed to meet these requirements and sized appropriately.


Is there a cost to sign up?

There are no application fees; however, you will be responsible for all costs incurred by Hydro to deliver the net metering service that are beyond the standard connection costs to regular customers. Examples of costs may include line extensions, metering changes, upgrading existing lines, additional poles, etc.


How long should I expect before I receive a formal response to my application?

When a complete application form has been received by Hydro, you should expect to hear from a Customer Service Representative confirming that it has been received within a week. You will also be informed if you are required to provide additional details or if it has been deemed acceptable for the Engineering department to commence their review. The engineering review will vary depending on the proposed system.


How much time do I have to complete the installation after the application is approved?

When approved, you will have two years to proceed with the operation of your generation. At which point, if not installed, your application, and subsequent approval will be cancelled.


Do I have to sign a contract for net metering with Hydro?

The connection of an approved Net Metering applicant will be subject to the customer entering a “Net Metering Interconnection Agreement” with Hydro. This form can be found here.

 

Installation of Equipment

What types of generating units are eligible for the proposed net metering program?

Generally, eligible customers are those that own and operate renewable generation facilities that may include wind, solar, photovoltaic, geothermal, biomass, tidal, or wave energy. However, customers that are participating in the Biogas Electricity Generation Pilot Project cannot also participate in the Net Metering Program.


Does Hydro design or install the generating system for me?

No. While Hydro administers this program, we do not design, engineer or install generating systems for its customers. However, there are a variety of businesses that provide these services and we recommend you consult with an electrical contractor or engineering consultant to get started. Hydro suggests that an application should be submitted to Hydro prior to any major investment in equipment/infrastructure to ensure the customer is aware of the minimum technical specifications required.


What if I want to add additional generation? Or make other changes?

Any changes, including adding generation, will require prior written consent by Hydro.


Will Hydro have to inspect the installation?

As part of the electrical and generating equipment installation, the customer’s electrician must obtain an Electrical Permit from the applicable electrical inspection authority and arrange to have all required electrical inspections performed and passed.

All protective devices or functions supplied to satisfy the requirements in Hydro’s Net Metering Interconnection Guidelines shall be tested by qualified personnel at the Customer’s expense. Reports and findings of this routine testing shall include the “in service” settings. Test reports will promptly be made available to the Utility.

The utility may require and/or witness the commissioning and testing of the generation equipment.


How do I determine if a generator is sized to meet my needs?

The generation limit does not restrict customers from participating in Net Metering; however, the rated capacity of chosen generation equipment must not exceed the lower of the following two values:

  1. 100 kW -OR-
  2. The capacity needed to meet your power needs:

 

 

This can be roughly estimated using this equation:

Power needed (kW) = (Annual consumption (kWh)) / (8760 (h) X Utilization factor)

Utilization factor depends on the generation equipment being installed

For Example:

Your home’s annual consumption is 10,000 kWh. You want to install solar panels. Assuming a utilization factor of 0.15, the capacity required to meet your needs is calculated as follows:

10,000 kWh / (8,760 h × 0.15 ) = 7.6 kW

 

How can I find out my annual power consumption?

If you save copies of your bills and/or subscribe to NL Hydro’s e-bill through myNLhydro service, you can total the number of kWh used over the course of the year, or alternatively sum up the totals for past electric use for the most recent year.

If you’re installing a customer-generation device as part of a new service, your electrical contractor should be able to assist you to determine your forecasted demand.

We can help as well. Send your questions to customerservice@nlh.nl.ca, or call our Customer Service Representatives at 1.888.737.1296 during normal business hours (8:30-4:00 M-F).

 

Do I need an extra disconnect switch to provide isolation from Hydro’s system?

For safety reasons and in compliance with the Canadian Electrical Code Regulations, generation connections require the installation of an isolation switch located between the meter and the customer’s equipment. The installation of an isolation switch allows Hydro’s powerline technicians and other staff to work safely on our distribution system. These technical details can be found in the Interconnection Guidelines document.


Do I need a new meter, and if so do I need to pay for it?

Net Metering will ordinarily be metered using a company supplied single meter capable of registering flow of electricity in two directions. The customer is responsible for any costs to upgrade the metering equipment if the existing electrical meter is not capable of safely and reliably metering both the energy Hydro supplies to the customer and the customer generation that is supplied to Hydro.

At Hydro’s discretion, the output of the customer’s generation may be metered separately. In that case, the customer shall provide Hydro with the access necessary to install and maintain the required metering equipment, at Hydro’s expense.

Impact on Electricity Bills

How much money will I save?

Any savings will vary based on your electricity use and the size, location, and type of your generator, among other factors. The initial purchase and installation of a renewable energy generator typically requires a relatively significant investment. Net Metering programs are intended to offer customers the opportunity to offset some or all of the electricity they draw from the grid, therefore, it is up to each customer to determine if the investment is viable.


How does net metering work on my bill?

Net metering customers will continue to pay the applicable, regular monthly basic customer charge, and business customers will continue to pay the demand charges, if applicable. If more energy is used than generated in a given month, there will be an energy (kWh) charge on monthly bill. If more electricity is generated than used there will be no energy (kWh) charge, the surplus will be banked and applied to future bills. Customers will receive a credit for any surplus remaining at the end of the annual review period.

Compensation of these credits will be based upon Hydro’s marginal wholesale rate that applies to sales to Newfoundland Power for Island Interconnected customers, the imbalance rate for Labrador Interconnected customers and the excess energy rate for diesel customers, during the calendar month in which billing occurs. These can be found on Hydro’s website under electricity rates.

A statement will be included with the monthly electricity bill to show the energy provided to the grid as well as any remaining banked generation credits.


Will I be taxed only on the net amount of electricity I am billed for?

All customers must pay Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) on the energy supplied by Hydro to the customer during the billing month. In the case where a customer is required by law to collect HST on their generation supplied to Hydro, HST will also be paid by Hydro on the amount of the customer generation credit. It is the customer’s responsibility to notify Hydro in writing if they are required to collect HST on the energy they supply to Hydro. The application form contains a section for the HST registration number.