Nova Scotia government kills electric utility’s bid to impose ‘net-metering’ charge on solar

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Nova Scotia government kills electric utility's bid to impose 'net-metering' charge on solar
Nova Scotia government kills electric utility's bid to impose 'net-metering' charge on solar

Nova Scotia Power announced Tuesday the utility will delay the start date for its controversial proposal to charge fees to homeowners connected to the grid who use solar power.

The fee proposal was filed last week with the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board. If approved, Peter Gregg, president and CEO of Nova Scotia Power, says the change would now take effect Feb. 1, 2023, instead of Tuesday.

“The reality is that the provincial Net Metering Program as it is set up now isn’t working for all Nova Scotians. It needs to be addressed,” wrote Gregg in a news release. “We hope extending the deadline by one year provides all stakeholders with the necessary time to create solutions that support the continued growth of the solar and renewable industries in Nova Scotia.”

Gregg adds that he “regrets” not having more discussions with the solar industry before filing the proposal and that the industry was “caught off guard” by the proposed changes, specifically the effective date the changes would apply.

“Over the past number of days, we’ve heard from our customers and yesterday we talked to Solar Nova Scotia to hear the concerns of the solar industry first-hand,” he said.

“Collaboration and consultation are important to me and my team and when we don’t get it right, we are committed to fixing it.”

According to Gregg, under the current structure, customers who are not using solar are paying for net metering users to be able to rely on and have access to the grid when they need it.

“We recognize that customers who choose solar do invest a significant amount and do pay for the electricity they use,” said Gregg. “What they do not pay for are all of the costs associated with them having access to the NS Power grid when they need energy from the grid, like the cold winter evenings when the sun is not shining.”

Nova Scotia Power’s decision to delay comes after frustration was voiced from those in the province’s solar industry and political officials.

Nova Scotia Power, a subsidiary of Emera Inc., applied to the provincial regulator last week to charge solar customers about $8 per kilowatt of electricity.

The change would amount to roughly $960 a year for a typical 10-kilowatt photovoltaic solar installation, which generates about $1,800 in annual revenue, as well as double the time needed to earn back the cost of installing the system.

According to the chairman of Solar Nova Scotia, David Brushett, the change would be a significant reduction of a typical homeowner’s revenue of about $1,800 annually from a 10-kilowatt photovoltaic installation. He added it would also nearly double the time needed for a homeowner to earn back the cost of installing the system.

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