The Safford City Council unanimously voted at its May 10 meeting to approve a resolution adopting a net metering policy for customers who generate electricity from a renewable resource.
When the Arizona Corporation Commission approved Safford’s Territorial Settlement Agreement with the Graham County Electric Co-op, ACC Chairman Kristin Mayes included an amendment that strongly encouraged Safford to adopt renewable energy, net metering, energy efficiency and low-income assistance policies identical to ones available to co-op customers. While the co-op is regulated by the ACC and must follow its rules, Safford is a non-regulated producer. The policy will go into effect immediately, and customer-generators who meet the criteria can submit their request to enroll in the program.
According to the policy, city customers will be able to offset the cost of electricity they buy from the city by installing a renewable energy system, such as solar or wind. Customers will be credited for excess generation of power on a one-to-one basis per kilowatt-hour. The credits will roll over month to month until the end of the year when any credit balance will then be zeroed out. If a customer generator has 100 kilowatts in credit, they would have until the end of the year to use them. There will not be any reimbursement for excess power generated and not used by the end of the year.
To take part in the net metering program, customers must be pre-approved by the city and submit plans providing equipment specifications. The customer will be required to purchase an electric meter designated by the city that may include a bi-directional meter to accurately measure the power the city provides to the customer and vice versa. Additionally, the system must be installed by a licensed Arizona contractor and be permitted and inspected prior to connection to the distribution system. The customer will also be required to install switch gear and protective equipment to prevent electricity from flowing back on the line during maintenance.
One of the reasons for pre-approval is for the city to assist customer-generators in building a system that is correctly sized for their needs. According to the policy, a customer generator system will only be credited up to 25 percent over its yearly average connected load. The pre-approval system will prevent customer generators from spending excess money on larger systems when they wouldn’t receive additional benefits from the city.
In exchange for electricity credits from the city, customer generators will transfer all environmental attributes and reporting rights to the utility. The reporting rights will assist the city in achieving future requirements of having a percentage of its power derived from a renewable resource.
Source: Eastern Arizona Courier