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SENATE BILL NO. 409
INTRODUCED BY J. ELLINGSON, J. BOHLINGER, S. STANG
AN ACT AUTHORIZING NET METERING FOR CERTAIN ENERGY SYSTEMS; AMENDING SECTION 69-8-103, MCA; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE AND AN APPLICABILITY PROVISION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Legislative findings. The legislature finds that it is in the public interest to promote net metering because it:
(1) encourages private investment in renewable energy resources;
(2) stimulates Montana's economic growth; and
(3) enhances the continued diversification of the energy resources used in Montana.
Section 2. Section 69-8-103, MCA, is amended to read:
"69-8-103. Definitions. As used in this chapter, unless the context requires otherwise, the following definitions apply:
(1) "Aggregator" or "market aggregator" means an entity, licensed by the commission, that aggregates retail customers,
and purchases electric energy, and takes title to electric energy as an intermediary for sale to retail customers.
(2) "Assignee" means any entity, including a corporation, partnership, board, trust, or financing vehicle, to which a utility assigns, sells, or transfers, other than as security, all or a portion of the utility's interest in or right to transition property. The term also includes an entity, corporation, public authority, partnership, trust, or financing vehicle to which an assignee assigns, sells, or transfers, other than as security, the assignee's interest in or right to transition property.
(3) "Board" means the board of investments created by 2-15-1808.
(4) "Broker" or "marketer" means an entity, licensed by the commission, that acts as an agent or intermediary in the sale and purchase of electric energy but that does not take title to electric energy.
(5) "Cooperative utility" means:
(a) a utility qualifying as an electric cooperative pursuant to Title 35, chapter 18; or
(b) an existing municipal electric utility as of May 2, 1997.
(6) "Customer" or "consumer" means a retail electric customer or consumer. The university of Montana, pursuant to 20-25-201(1), and Montana state university, pursuant to 20-25-201(2), are each considered a single retail electric customer or consumer with a single individual load.
(7) "Customer-generator" means a user of a net metering system.
(7)(8) "Distribution facilities" means those facilities by and through which electricity is received from a transmission
services provider and distributed to the customer and that are controlled or operated by a distribution services provider. (8)(9) "Distribution services provider" means a person controlling or operating distribution facilities for distribution of
electricity to the public. (9)(10) "Electricity supplier" means any person, including aggregators, market aggregators, brokers, and marketers,
offering to sell electricity to retail customers in the state of Montana. (10)(11) "Financing order" means an order of the commission adopted in accordance with 69-8-503 that authorizes the
imposition and collection of fixed transition amounts and the issuance of transition bonds. (11)(12) (a) "Fixed transition amounts" means those nonbypassable rates or charges, including but not limited to:
(iii) disconnection; and
(iv) termination rates and charges that are authorized by the commission in a financing order to permit recovery of transition costs and the costs of recovering, reimbursing, financing, or refinancing the transition costs and of acquiring transition property through a plan approved by the commission in the financing order, including the costs of issuing, servicing, and retiring transition bonds.
(b) If requested by the utility in the utility's application for a financing order, fixed transition amounts must include nonbypassable rates or charges to recover federal and state taxes in which the transition cost recovery period is modified by the transactions approved in the financing order.
(12)(13) "Functionally separate" means a utility's separation of the utility's electricity supply, transmission, distribution,
and unregulated retail energy services assets and operations. (13)(14) "Local governing body" means a local board of trustees of a rural electric cooperative. (14)(15) "Low-income customer" means those energy consumer households and families with incomes at or below
industry-recognized levels that qualify those consumers for low-income energy-related assistance.
(16) "Net metering" means measuring the difference between the electricity distributed to and the electricity generated by a customer-generator that is fed back to the distribution system during the applicable billing period.
(17) "Net metering system" means a facility for the production of electric energy that:
(a) uses as its fuel solar, wind, or hydropower;
(b) has a generating capacity of not more than 50 kilowatts;
(c) is located on the customer-generator's premises;
(d) operates in parallel with the distribution services provider's distribution facilities; and
(e) is intended primarily to offset part or all of the customer-generator's requirements for electricity.
(15)(18) "Nonbypassable rates or charges" means rates or charges that are approved by the commission and imposed on
a customer to pay the customer's share of transition costs or universal system benefits program programs costs even if the
customer has physically bypassed either the utility's transmission or distribution facilities. (16)(19) "Pilot program" means a program using a representative sample of residential and small commercial customers
to assist in developing and offering customer choice of electric electricity supply for all residential and commercial
customers. (17)(20) "Public utility" means any electric utility regulated by the commission pursuant to Title 69, chapter 3, on May
2, 1997, including the public utility's successors or assignees. (18)(21) "Transition bondholder" means a holder of transition bonds, including trustees, collateral agents, and other
entities acting for the benefit of that holder. (19)(22) "Transition bonds" means any bond, debenture, note, interim certificate, collateral, trust certificate, or other
evidence of indebtedness or ownership issued by the board or other transition bonds issuer that is secured by or payable
from fixed transition amounts or transition property. Proceeds from transition bonds must be used to recover, reimburse,
finance, or refinance transition costs and to acquire transition property. (20)(23) "Transition charge" means a nonbypassable rate or charge to be imposed on a customer to pay the customer's
share of transition costs. (21)(24) "Transition cost recovery period" means the period beginning on July 1, 1998, and ending when a utility
customer does not have any liability for payment of transition costs. (22)(25) "Transition costs" means:
(a) a public utility's net verifiable generation-related and electricity supply costs, including costs of capital, that become unrecoverable as a result of the implementation of this chapter or of federal law requiring retail open access or customer choice;
(b) those costs that include but are not limited to:
(i) regulatory assets and deferred charges that exist because of current regulatory practices and can be accounted for up to the effective date of the commission's final order regarding a public utility's transition plan and conservation investments made prior to universal system benefits charge implementation;
(ii) nonutility and utility power purchase contracts, including qualifying facility contracts;
(iii) existing generation investments and supply commitments or other obligations incurred before May 2, 1997, and costs arising from these investments and commitments;
(iv) the costs associated with renegotiation or buyout of the existing nonutility and utility power purchase contracts, including qualifying facilities and all costs, expenses, and reasonable fees related to issuing transition bonds; and
(v) the costs of refinancing and retiring of debt or equity capital of the public utility and associated federal and state tax liabilities or other utility costs for which the use of transition bonds would benefit customers.
(23)(26) "Transition period" means the period beginning on July 1, 1998, and ending on July 1, 2002, unless otherwise
extended pursuant to this chapter, during which utilities may phase in customer choice of electricity supplier. (24)(27) "Transition property" means the property right created by a financing order, including without limitation the
right, title, and interest of a utility, assignee, or other issuer of transition bonds to all revenue, collections, claims, payments,
money, or proceeds of or arising from or constituting fixed transition amounts that are the subject of a financing order,
including those nonbypassable rates and other charges and fixed transition amounts that are authorized by the commission
in the financing order to recover transition costs and the costs of recovering, reimbursing, financing, or refinancing the
transition costs and acquiring transition property, including the costs of issuing, servicing, and retiring transition bonds.
Any right that a utility has in the transition property before the utility's sale or transfer or any other right created under this
section or created in the financing order and assignable under this chapter or assignable pursuant to a financing order is only
a contract right. (25)(28) "Transmission facilities" means those facilities that are used to provide transmission services as determined by
the federal energy regulatory commission and the commission. (26)(29) "Transmission services provider" means a person controlling or operating transmission facilities. (27)(30) "Universal system benefits charge" means a nonbypassable rate or charge to be imposed on a customer to pay
the customer's share of universal system benefits program programs costs. (28)(31) "Universal system benefits programs" means public purpose programs for:
(a) cost-effective local energy conservation;
(b) low-income customer weatherization;
(c) renewable resource projects and applications, including those that capture unique social and energy system benefits or that provide transmission and distribution system benefits;
(d) research and development programs related to energy conservation and renewables;
(e) market transformation designed to encourage competitive markets for public purpose programs; and
(f) low-income energy assistance.
(29)(32) "Utility" means any public utility or cooperative utility."
Section 3. Distribution services provider net metering requirements. A distribution services provider shall:
(1) allow net metering systems to be interconnected using a standard kilowatt-hour meter capable of registering the flow of electricity in two directions, unless the commission determines, after appropriate notice and opportunity for comment:
(a) that the use of additional metering equipment to monitor the flow of electricity in each direction is necessary and appropriate for the interconnection of net metering systems, after taking into account the benefits and costs of purchasing and installing additional metering equipment; and
(b) how the costs of net metering are to be allocated between the customer-generator and the distribution services provider; and
(2) charge the customer-generator a minimum monthly fee that is the same as other customers of the electric utility in the same rate class. The commission shall determine, after appropriate notice and opportunity for comment if:
(a) the distribution services provider will incur direct costs associated with interconnecting or administering net metering systems that exceed any offsetting benefits associated with these net metering systems; and
(b) public policy is best served by imposing these costs on the customer-generator, rather than allocating these costs among the distribution services provider's entire customer base.
Section 4. Net energy measurement calculation. Consistent with the other provisions of [sections 1 and 3 through 5], the net energy measurement must be calculated in the following manner:
(1) The distribution services provider shall measure the net electricity produced or consumed during the billing period, in accordance with normal metering practices.
(2) If the electricity supplied by the electricity supplier exceeds the electricity generated by the customer-generator and fed back to the electricity supplier during the billing period, the customer-generator must be billed for the net electricity supplied by the electricity supplier, in accordance with normal metering practices.
(3) If electricity generated by the customer-generator exceeds the electricity supplied by the electricity supplier, the customer-generator must be:
(a) billed for the appropriate customer charges for that billing period, in accordance with [section 3]; and
(b) credited for the excess kilowatt hours generated during the billing period, with this kilowatt-hour credit appearing on the bill for the following billing period.
(4) At the beginning of each calendar year, any remaining unused kilowatt-hour credit accumulated during the previous year must be granted to the electricity supplier, without any compensation to the customer-generator.
Section 5. Net metering system -- reliability and safety. (1) A net metering system used by a customer-generator must include, at the customer-generator's own expense, all equipment necessary to meet applicable safety, power quality, and interconnection requirements established by the national electrical code, national electrical safety code, institute of electrical and electronic engineers, and underwriters laboratories.
(2) The commission, after appropriate notice and opportunity for comment, may adopt by rule additional safety, power quality, and interconnection requirements for customer-generators that the commission or the local governing body determines are necessary to protect public safety and net metering system reliability.
Section 6. Applicability. [Sections 1 through 5] do not apply to corporations organized under Title 35, chapter 18.
Section 7. Codification instruction. [Sections 1 and 3 through 5] are intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 69, chapter 8, and the provisions of Title 69, chapter 8, apply to [sections 1 and 3 through 5].
Section 8. Effective date. [This act] is effective July 1, 1999.
- END -
Latest Version of SB 409 (SB0409.ENR)
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