In the District of Columbia (DC), net metering is currently available to residential and commercial customer-generators with systems powered by renewable-energy sources, combined heat and power (CHP), fuel cells and microturbines, with a maximum capacity of 1 megawatt (MW). The term "renewable energy sources" is defined as solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, biomass, hydroelectric power and digester gas. In October 2008, the Clean and Affordable Energy Act of 2008 (Council Bill 17-492) expanded the limit on individual system size from 100 kilowatts (kW) to 1 MW .
Net Excess Generation:
The District's net-metering rules specify that metering equipment must be capable of measuring the flow of electricity in two directions. Utilities are not prohibited from installing an additional meter on the facilities of eligible customer-generators, but utilities that choose to do so must pay for the added cost of the second meter and/or other necessary equipment. Compensation for monthly net excess generation (NEG) varies based on the size of the generator. For systems of 100 kW or less, NEG is credited to the customer's next bill at the full retail rate, which includes generation, transmission, and distribution components.* For systems with capacities of, or greater than, 100 kW, NEG is credited to the customer's next bill at the generation rate. Credits for NEG are expressed as a dollar value on the customer's bill and may be carried forward indefinitely.
Utilities (i.e., Pepco) must offer a standard net-metering contract approved by the PSC. The District's net metering rules also contain sections addressing net metering for customers of competitive electricity suppliers. The rules for crediting NEG are essentially the same as those used for customer-generators that receive standard offer service, but it should be noted that competitive suppliers are not required to offer net metering if they do not choose to do so.
Virtual Net Metering:
At the end of 2013, DC Bill 20-0057 provided homeowners and renters with the option of subscribing to buy locally produced renewable power from newly authorized community renewable energy facilities (CREFs). Subscribers to CREFs can have up to 120% of their total monthly electric demand credited towards their electric bill via the net-metering of newly created “CREF credits.” The value of “CREF credits” is calculated by multiplying the number of kilowatts allocated to the subscriber by the new “CREF credit rate.” Excess credits carry over to the subscriber’s next bill. CREF generation sites can be built, owned, and operated by third parties, must have a capacity of less than 5 megawatts, must have at least 2 subscribers, and can add subscribers on a quarterly basis.
*In June 2008, the DC PSC clarified that Pepco (PSC Order No. 14840) must award net-metered customers credit at the utility's full retail rate for the electricity they generate during a billing cycle. This provision remains in the current rules for systems of 100 kW or less.