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