On May 25, 2017, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) issued a letter convening a “Net Metering Consultation.” The Net Metering Consultation is intended to explore the implications of the updated Net Metering Regulation (which will come into force on July 1, 2017), and to determine what changes should be made to OEB rules and processes to support the expansion of net metering. According to the OEB, items to be addressed may include changes to the Distribution System Code, standardizing of net metering applications and agreements, enhancement of public information about net metering, and treatment of distributors’ administrative costs to support net metering.

As we have discussed in earlier posts (see here, here and here), the pending changes to the Net Metering Regulation are intended to expand the adoption of net metering. There are two main changes:

  • Larger generation facilities will be permitted: The new Regulation eliminates the requirement that the generation equipment used for net metering must be less than 500 kilowatts. The stated intent is to enable larger customers to “right-size” renewable energy systems to match their load. The requirements that the generator must generate power primarily for their own use and that the power must be generated by a “renewable” energy system are unchanged.
  • Participants will be permitted to use storage systems: There will no longer be a requirement that only electricity transferred directly from a renewable generation system to the customer’s own use, or to the distributor, will be eligible. The new rules will allow for the use of energy storage when paired with renewable energy generation.

The OEB’s Net Metering Consultation will proceed in two phases. The first stage will focus on information collection. The OEB plans to establish and select members for a “Net Metering Working Group” to assist in this task. In the second stage, the OEB will use the information gathered through the Net Metering Working Group to determine possible next steps.

Information about the Net Metering Consultation can be found on the OEB’s Consultation Web Page.