Bill seeks to protect net metering customers

Senator Clynt Ridgell (file photo)

Senator Clynt Ridgell has introduced Bill 315-35 (LS) to set into law how much net metering customers are credited and to cap Guam’s net metering program at 20% of the utility’s total system peak demand.

This bill will protect private citizens who have invested in renewable energy systems that produce power for the Guam Power Authority (GPA) and the entire system. This will not only encourage renewable energy but will also encourage private investment into Guam’s power system.

“Private citizens have been using their own money to invest in Guam’s power system by investing in renewable energy systems that produce excess power for the entire electrical grid. We should be doing everything we can to encourage this type of public-private partnership. We can begin assisting by expanding the amount of net metering allowed on the grid and solidifying the net metering credit under law. This way, net metering customers can feel more secure in their investment,” said Senator Ridgell.

Bill 315-35 sets the capacity for how much energy can be generated through net metering at twenty percent (20%). After this point, no new renewables can be installed for net metering until a study evaluating the impact of net metering on the grid is completed. This ensures grid stability and grid optimization both for net metering customers and all others buying power from GPA.

The bill also states that all net metering customers who go online before the twenty percent limit must be credited at the retail rate for any power they generate over their use. This protects the investment made by private citizens into the power grid.

“We’ve got to remember here that net metering customers are not only investing in their own power-producing equipment but are ultimately investing in power production for the entire grid. Their investment benefits everyone as their excess power is put back into the grid. In addition, because their power generation is local, it reduces transmission costs and line loss,” Ridgell said.

Net metering, which includes but is not limited to rooftop solar, currently produces about 7% of the total generation according to a study done for the Public Utility Commission last year. A vast majority of the remaining energy is generated through the burning of imported fossil fuels. The cost of these imported fossil fuels makes up the bulk of every citizen’s power bill. The bill also comes in the wake of a law passed this term requiring Guam energy to be supplied exclusively by renewables by 2045.

“This bill allows Guam to continue to grow our renewable portfolio and provide for cheaper, cleaner, and greener energy to be generated by and for the people of Guam. As Guam moves towards the 100% renewables required under law, our government, the utility, individuals, and local businesses must all be a part of this push towards a more affordable, more sustainable, Greener Guam,” Senator Ridgell concluded. (press release)