By Jesse Berst
Last month we warned you the net metering debate is going national. Now Central Hudson Gas & Electric has stopped taking net metering requests.
Central Hudson spokesman John Maserjian told the Poughkeepsie Journal that "net metering provides a subsidy to owners of solar and renewable systems that is ultimately paid for by all other customers. We feel that any decision to increase the cap or change policy should be determined by state regulators."
The New York PSC has already received a petition from one solar installer asking it to triple Central Hudson's net metering limit "to prevent the regional PV [photovoltaic] market from shutting down."
And there's the rub.
On the one hand, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has an initiative to increase solar installations statewide. On the other, current net metering regulations let customers "sell back" electricity at retail rates, meaning that they do not pay their share of the costs of maintaining the system.
Since many net metering applicants are wealthy homeowners with the money to install rooftop solar, or businesses with the funding to put in large rooftop arrays, those subsidies often go to the top 1%.
Would it be unfair to allow unlimited net metering, but to buy the power at lower "wholesale" rates? Use the Talk Back form to reply.
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Jesse Berst is the founder and chief analyst of Smart Grid News.com, the industry's oldest and largest smart grid site. A frequent keynoter at industry events in the U.S. and abroad, he also serves on advisory committees for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Institute for Electric Efficiency. He often provides strategic consulting to large corporations and venture-backed startups. He is a member of the advisory boards of GridGlo and Calico Energy Services.