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Eustace, Benson, Zwicker, Wimberly Bill to Authorize Virtual Net Metering For Certain Customers Clears Assembly

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Tim Eustace, Daniel Benson, Andrew Zwicker, and Benjie Wimberly to allow “virtual” net metering for customers connected to hydropower facilities was approved, 72-3, by the full Assembly on Thursday.

Virtual net metering (VNM) is a bill crediting system. A customer receives credits on their electric bill for excess energy drawn from a hydropower facility.

“For residents who have invested in a renewable energy source for their homes, this legislation would reduce their utility bill by giving them credit for the excess energy produced,” said Eustace (D- Bergen, Passaic). “Virtual net metering allows the customers to keep tabs on how much energy they actually use through alternative energy sources. Because of their investment, residents should see the savings on their utility bills from month to month.”

Under the bill (A-2204), a small scale Hydro power facility put into service after the effective date with the capacity of 3 MW or less is eligible for net metering. The bill authorizes a facility to deliver or sell power to up to 10 end-use customers, who are located within 10 miles of the facility and net-metered within the service territory of a single electric public utility, and designate the end-use customers to be credited by the electric power supplier or basic generation service provider with the excess generations of the facility.

“Many residents are looking to renewable energy sources as alternative ways to heat and cool their homes,” said Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex). “Residents should be able to reap the rewards of turning to solar or other resources and see the difference in their utility bill.”

The bill also requires an electric public utility, electric power supplier, for a basic generation service provider to provide standby power at the request of the facility or an end – use customer who uses Power generated by the facility. “Standby power,” under the bill, means power made available during a facility outage to a facility or to win – use customer who uses power generated by the facility.

“Virtual net metering is a way for more residents to take advantage of renewable energy sources,” said Zwicker (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, and Somerset). “Families who subscribe to a hydro power facility should receive credit on their electric bill for the excess energy their home has produced.”

“Families are always trying to find ways to save money, especially on utilities,” said Wimberly (D-Bergen, Passaic). “If they use or produce renewable energy in their homes, then residents should be able to receive credit for the excess produced.”

The bill was release by the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee in June. The bill will now go to the Senate for further consideration.