Updates from the Committee on Energy

Net Metering Rules Approved by PSC
New law improves business’ & non profits’ ability to participate in clean energy programs
June 21, 2010

Albany – Assembly Energy Committee Chair Kevin Cahill (D-Ulster, Dutchess) announced that the Public Service Commission (PSC) approved changes to rules governing the state’s major electric utility companies, which could save businesses, not for profits, local governments and schools money on utility bills, create jobs and boost the use of renewable energy. The new “net metering” law (A.7557-A), sponsored by Assemblymember Cahill, removes arbitrary limits to the size of solar and wind systems that can be installed by non-residential customers. This fix opens up further opportunities for New Yorkers to take advantage of solar and wind power to lower costs and sell their excess clean energy back to their utility.

“This legislation, which received broad bi-partisan support, will open up many opportunities for New Yorkers,” said Assemblymember Cahill. “The expansion of the net metering law allows businesses and not for profits to take advantage of solar and wind power and sell back their excess energy.”

Without this change, New York State and its businesses, non-profits, municipalities, schools and other commercial entities would be unable to realize the intent of the state’s net metering laws. Now with the PSC’s approval of the new rules, non-residential customers will be able to install renewable energy systems as large as two megawatts, opening up a largely untapped market for manufacturers and installers.

“This new law is one of the most expansive in the country,” said Assemblymember Cahill. “By promoting clean energy and providing businesses with cost effective solutions, we are bringing New York to the forefront of the new energy economy through the use of net metering.”

Net metering is a simple, fair, low-cost and easily administered mechanism available to utility customers in nearly every state. On-site renewable power generation reduces stress on the electric grid and allows consumers to hedge against volatile energy costs; it also provides other valuable benefits.

“Net metering plays a key role in the advancement of our renewable energy industry, creating jobs for the installation and maintenance of these systems,” said Assemblymember Cahill. “This measure is helping to restore New York as the Empire State, making it a leader in economic development, environmental conservation and energy security.”