Background to the evolution of net metering: Maine moves to annualized net metering

The Electric Restructuring bill, signed into law in 1997, effectively eliminated the decade-old net metering policy in the state. The bill eliminated the requirement that a utility accept excess power and instead made it a utility option. Central Maine Power quickly seized on that new language and exercised their option by rejecting new intertie applications, specifically those of my two neighbors, Peter Talmage and Naoto Inoue. We were slipping back into the Ice Age of renewable energy.

The new policy

My comments to the PUC

My current net metering contract

The Public Utilities Commission, charged with implementing the new flawed law, asked for comments on how best to reinstate household net metering. They concluded that it was desirable public policy. I appeared in person on December 12th, 1997 at their public rulemaking hearing to support the written petition of Peter Talmage and Naoto Inoue. The three of us (known in some circles as the Three Solar Musketeers of Maine) owe a great debt of gratitude to Thomas Starrs of Vashon, Washington, whose legal knowledge of the utility/solar industry provided substance to our position. It's also worth noting that Central Maine's rejection of new contracts unleashed a series of events that ultimately culminated in this new, landmark policy statement.

My current net metering contract runs through December 31, 1999. Then it's on to annualized net metering.