HB 365 would seek to expand the ability for commercial and public entities to sell back renewable energy to the electric grid at market prices. Under net metering, entities that produce their own energy can “sell” unused energy back to the grid for credits on future energy bills, but they’re capped in the amount of energy they can send back.
The bill would expand that cap from one megawatt to five, dramatically increasing the size of the customer-producers that could participate in net metering. That, supporters say, could lead to cost savings for towns with hydropower facilities, and make investments in large solar grids more economical for towns and businesses.
Sununu’s veto comes a year after he vetoed a similar bill. Back then, he raised the risk of cost shifting by utility companies. A utility forced to purchase energy at default rates – presently around nine cents per kilowatt hour – but only allowed to sell it on at the wholesale rate – around three cents – could lead to losses that would result in higher bills for all ratepayers, opponents warned.
House Bill 365 sought to address that concern by mandating that utility companies use the energy acquired through net metering to offset their current load obligations. That means the extra energy would need to be factored in by the utilities when purchasing power at auction, supporters say. By using the acquired renewable energy to offset purchases at auction, utilities could purchase less energy at auction, advocates argue.