Meter Aggregation Goes Live – What You Need to Know

Giumarra Vineyards is one of the agriculture solar installations designed by HelioPower

On Friday February 21 the CPUC approved PG&E’s Net Energy Meter Aggregation (NEMA) tariff; final SCE and SDG&E tariffs will follow soon.  Find below answers to the most common Meter Aggregation questions; if terms are unfamiliar see our Meter Aggregation Glossary:

Q: What is Meter Aggregation, and why is it important?

Tom Millhoff provides an overview of Net Metering and Meter Aggregation at the 2014 Agronomics conference

Tom Millhoff provides an overview of Net Metering and Meter Aggregation at the 2014 Agronomics conference

A: Meter Aggregation allows the owners of solar or other renewable facilities to allocate generated energy credits across multiple owned accounts.   Now utility customers can replace expensive electricity at multiple locations using a single solar, wind, hydro or biomass installation.  For a simple video explaining Net Metering and Meter Aggregation, click here.

Q: What are the eligibility requirements?

A: PG&E, SCE and SDG&E electricity customers may use a grid-interconnected solar or other renewable energy generation facility of offset aggregated usage of up to 1 MW (Megawatt) from meters on contiguous parcels of property that they own or lease.


Q: Who may benefit from Meter Aggregation

A: Businesses with more than one electric meter on contiguous parcels.  Likely beneficiaries include growers with grid-connected electric irrigation pumps, production facilities with multiple meters, and schools.  Meter Allocation can benefit drought-stricken growers as they can easily re-allocate loads away from meters serving fallowed land.


Q: I already have solar.  How can I benefit from Meter Aggregation?

A: If you own a renewable generation facility and have multiple electric meters, you may achieve additional savings by allocating your solar generation across those meters.  Some solar customers will benefit by expanding their existing facility to offset additional energy loads on their contiguous parcels.


Q: What happens if I generate more power than I consume?

A: Meter Aggregation builds on Net Metering policy: you will receive full retail credit for energy generated up to your total annual consumption.  But you won’t want to generate more than you consume in a 12 month period… under Meter Aggregation this “Surplus Generation” is forfeited to the utilities.


Q: How is the renewable energy allocated across aggregated meters?

A: Generated energy is allocated proportionally across meters after adjusting for the cumulative allocations that were made in prior billing periods.  Thus any energy credits are allocated across time and meters until a year end true-up period.  This approach helps “shave” peak loads and rates, and reduces the chance of forfeiting net surplus of energy to the utility.


Q: How will Meter Aggregation affect Demand Response programs?

A: Aggregated Accounts, including the Generating Account, are eligible for the same Demand Response programs and solar tariffs as NEM customers. Demand response payments to Aggregated Accounts will be based on the Qualified Customer’s metered usage disregarding any contributions allocated from the Generating Account.


Q: What is the status of the Net Energy Meter Aggregation proceedings?

A: The CPUC approved PG&E’s NEMA tariff on Friday February 21.  SCE and SDG&E’s currently proposed fees are not yet compliant with the CPUC’s January directive; we expect this to be resolved soon.


Q: What fees are associated with Meter Aggregation?

A: As of this writing. PG&E and SCE will charge a one-time setup fee of $25 per Aggregated Account; SDG&E will charge $220.  SDG&E currently does not plan to charge ongoing fees; SCE would charge account fees of $20/mo and PG&E would charge $5/mo.


Q: What other costs and “gotchas” should I watch out for?

A: If your Meter Aggregation project is complex or pushes the limits of your existing electrical service on either side of the meter, the utility may require additional review and/or interconnection facilities and other equipment, and you may bear those interconnection costs.


Q: How can I know if Meter Aggregation is right for my business?

HelioPower installed some of the first Meter Aggregation projects in California

HelioPower installed some of the first Meter Aggregation projects in California

A: Just contact HelioPower or reach out to me directly.  We developed among the first Meter Aggregation projects in PG&E, SCE and SDG&E territories so we are experienced with all aspects of these projects including policy, utility compliance, commissioning and operation.


HelioPower:  The Meter Aggregation Leader

HelioPower installed among the first Meter Aggregation projects in PG&E, SCE and SDG&E territories; we have been allocating energy using Meter Aggregation to hundreds of meters for years.  We have deep experience in all aspects of Meter Aggregation policy, development, utility compliance, implementation and operation.  HelioPower understands Meter Aggregation’s economic levers, and will help you leverage the economies of scale and location afforded by Meter Aggregation and its sister policies Virtual Net Energy Metering and the Renewable Energy Self-Generation Bill Credit Transfer Program (RES-BCT).