TITLE 39
Public Utilities and Carriers

CHAPTER 39-26.4
Net Metering

SECTION 39-26.4-2


§ 39-26.4-2 Definitions.

Terms not defined in this section herein shall have the same meaning as contained in chapter 26 of title 39 of the general laws. When used in this chapter:

(1) "Community remote-net-metering system" means a facility generating electricity using an eligible net-metering resource that allocates net-metering credits to a minimum of one account for system associated with low or moderate housing eligible credit recipients, or three (3) eligible credit-recipient customer accounts, provided that no more than fifty percent (50%) of the credits produced by the system are allocated to one eligible credit recipient, and provided further at least fifty percent (50%) of the credits produced by the system are allocated to the remaining eligible credit recipients in an amount not to exceed that which is produced annually by twenty-five kilowatt (25 kW) AC capacity. The community remote-net-metering system may transfer credits to eligible credit recipients in an amount that is equal to or less than the sum of the usage of the eligible credit recipient accounts measured by the three-year (3) average annual consumption of energy over the previous three (3) years. A projected annual consumption of energy may be used until the actual three-year (3) average annual consumption of energy over the previous three (3) years at the eligible credit recipient accounts becomes available for use in determining eligibility of the generating system. The community remote-net-metering system may be owned by the same entity that is the customer of record on the net-metered account or may be owned by a third party.

(2) "Electric-distribution company" shall have the same meaning as § 39-1-2, but shall not include block island power company or Pascoag utility district, each of whom shall be required to offer net metering to customers through a tariff approved by the public utilities commission after a public hearing. Any tariff or policy on file with the public utilities commission on the date of passage of this chapter shall remain in effect until the commission approves a new tariff.

(3) "Eligible credit recipient" means one of the following eligible recipients in the electric-distribution company's service territory whose electric service account or accounts may receive net-metering credits from a community remote net-metering system. Eligible credit recipients include the following definitions:

(i) Residential accounts in good standing.

(ii) "Low- or moderate-income housing eligible credit recipient" means an electric service account or accounts in good standing associated with any housing development or developments owned operated by a public agency, nonprofit organization, limited-equity housing cooperative, or private developer, that receives assistance under any federal, state, or municipal government program to assist the construction or rehabilitation of housing affordable to low- or moderate-income households, as defined in the applicable federal or state statute, or local ordinance, encumbered by a deed restriction or other covenant recorded in the land records of the municipality in which the housing is located, that:

(A) Restricts occupancy of no less than fifty percent (50%) of the housing to households with a gross, annual income that does not exceed eighty percent (80%) of the area median income as defined annually by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD);

(B) Restricts the monthly rent, including a utility allowance, that may be charged to residents, to an amount that does not exceed thirty percent (30%) of the gross, monthly income of a household earning eight percent (80%) of the area, median income as defined annually by HUD;

(C) That has an original term of not less than thirty (30) years from initial occupancy. Electric service account or accounts in good standing associated with housing developments that are under common ownership or control may be considered a single low- or moderate-income housing-eligible credit recipient for purposes of this section. The value of the credits shall be used to provide benefits to tenants.

(4) "Eligible net-metering resource" means eligible renewable-energy resource, as defined in § 39-26-5 including biogas created as a result of anaerobic digestion, but, specifically excluding all other listed eligible biomass fuels;

(5) "Eligible net-metering system" means a facility generating electricity using an eligible net-metering resource that is reasonably designed and sized to annually produce electricity in an amount that is equal to, or less than, the renewable self-generator's usage at the eligible net-metering-system site measured by the three-year (3) average annual consumption of energy over the previous three (3) years at the electric-distribution account(s) located at the eligible net-metering-system site. A projected annual consumption of energy may be used until the actual three-year (3) average annual consumption of energy over the previous three (3) years at the electric-distribution account(s) located at the eligible net-metering-system site becomes available for use in determining eligibility of the generating system. The eligible net-metering system may be owned by the same entity that is the customer of record on the net-metered accounts or may be owned by a third party that is not the customer of record at the eligible net-metering system site and which may offer a third-party, net-metering financing arrangement or public entity, net-metering financing arrangement, as applicable. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, any eligible net-metering resource: (i) Owned by a public entity or multi-municipal collaborative or (ii) Owned and operated by a renewable-generation developer on behalf of a public entity or multi-municipal collaborative through public entity net-metering financing arrangement shall be treated as an eligible net-metering system and all accounts designated by the public entity or multi-municipal collaborative for net metering shall be treated as accounts eligible for net metering within an eligible net-metering-system site.

(6) "Eligible net-metering-system site" means the site where the eligible net-metering system or community remote net-metering system is located or is part of the same campus or complex of sites contiguous to one another and the site where the eligible net-metering system or community remote-net-metering system is located or a farm in which the eligible net-metering system or community remote-net-metering system is located. Except for an eligible net-metering system owned by or operated on behalf of a public entity or multi-municipal collaborative through a public entity net-metering financing arrangement, the purpose of this definition is to reasonably assure that energy generated by the eligible net-metering system is consumed by net-metered electric service account(s) that are actually located in the same geographical location as the eligible net-metering system. All energy generated from any eligible net-metering system is, and will be considered, consumed at the meter where the renewable-energy resource is interconnected for valuation purposes. Except for an eligible net-metering system owned by, or operated on behalf of, a public entity or multi-municipal collaborative through a public entity net-metering financing arrangement, or except for a community remote-net-metering system, all of the net-metered accounts at the eligible net-metering-system site must be the accounts of the same customer of record and customers are not permitted to enter into agreements or arrangements to change the name on accounts for the purpose of artificially expanding the eligible net-metering-system site to contiguous sites in an attempt to avoid this restriction. However, a property owner may change the nature of the metered service at the accounts at the site to be master metered in the owner's name, or become the customer of record for each of the accounts, provided that the owner becoming the customer of record actually owns the property at which the account is located. As long as the net-metered accounts meet the requirements set forth in this definition, there is no limit on the number of accounts that may be net metered within the eligible net-metering-system site.

(7) "Excess renewable net-metering credit" means a credit that applies to an eligible net-metering system or community remote-net-metering system for that portion of the production of electrical energy beyond one hundred percent (100%) and no greater than one hundred twenty-five percent (125%) of the renewable self-generator's own consumption at the eligible net-metering-system site or the sum of the usage of the eligible credit recipient accounts associated with the community remote-net-metering system during the applicable billing period. Such excess renewable net-metering credit shall be equal to the electric-distribution company's avoided cost rate, which is hereby declared to be the electric-distribution company's standard offer service kilowatt hour (kWh) charge for the rate class and time-of-use billing period (if applicable) applicable to the customer of record for the eligible net-metering system or applicable to the customer of record for the community remote-net-metering system. The commission shall have the authority to make determinations as to the applicability of this credit to specific generation facilities to the extent there is any uncertainty or disagreement.

(8) "Farm" shall be defined in accordance with § 44-27-2, except that all buildings associated with the farm shall be eligible for net-metering credits as long as: (i) The buildings are owned by the same entity operating the farm or persons associated with operating the farm; and (ii) The buildings are on the same farmland as the project on either a tract of land contiguous with, or reasonably proximate to, such farmland or across a public way from such farmland.

(9) "Multi-municipal collaborative" means a group of towns and/or cities that enter into an agreement for the purpose of co-owning a renewable-generation facility or entering into a financing arrangement pursuant to subdivision (16).

(10) "Municipality" means any Rhode Island town or city, including any agency or instrumentality thereof, with the powers set forth in title 45 of the general laws.

(11) "Net metering" means using electrical energy generated by an eligible, net-metering system for the purpose of self-supplying electrical energy and power at the eligible net-metering-system site, or with respect to a community remote-net-metering system, for the purpose of generating net-metering credits to be applied to the electric bills of the eligible credit recipients associated with the community net-metering system. The amount so generated will thereby offset consumption at the eligible net-metering system site through the netting process established in this chapter, or with respect to a community remote-net-metering system, the amounts generated in excess of that amount will result in credits being applied to the eligible credit-recipient accounts associated with the community remote-net-metering system.

(12) "Net-metering customer" means a customer of the electric-distribution company receiving and being billed for distribution service whose distribution account(s) are being net metered.

(13) "Person" means an individual, firm, corporation, association, partnership, farm, town or city of the State of Rhode Island, multi-municipal collaborative, or the State of Rhode Island or any department of the state government, governmental agency, or public instrumentality of the state.

(14) "Project" means a distinct installation of an eligible net-metering system or a community remote-net-metering system. An installation will be considered distinct if it is installed in a different location, or at a different time, or involves a different type of renewable energy.

(15) "Public entity" means the state of Rhode Island, municipalities, wastewater treatment facilities, public transit agencies or any water distributing plant or system employed for the distribution of water to the consuming public within this state including the water supply board of the city of Providence.

(16) "Public entity net-metering financing arrangement" means arrangements entered into by a public entity or multi-municipal collaborative with a private entity to facilitate the financing and operation of a net-metering resource, in which the private entity owns and operates an eligible net-metering resource on behalf of a public entity or multi-municipal collaborative, where: (i) The eligible net-metering resource is located on property owned or controlled by the public entity or one of the municipalities, as applicable, and (ii) The production from the eligible net-metering resource and primary compensation paid by the public entity or multi-municipal collaborative to the private entity for such production is directly tied to the consumption of electricity occurring at the designated net-metered accounts.

(17) "Renewable net-metering credit" means a credit that applies to an eligible net-metering system or a community remote-net-metering system up to one hundred percent (100%) of either the renewable self-generator's usage at the eligible net-metering-system site or the sum of the usage of the eligible credit-recipient accounts associated with the community remote net-metering system over the applicable billing period. This credit shall be equal to the total kilowatt hours of electrical energy generated up to the amount consumed on-site, and/or generated up to the sum of the eligible credit-recipient account usage during the billing period multiplied by the sum of the distribution company's:

(i) Standard offer service kilowatt hour charge for the rate class applicable to the net-metering customer, except that for remote public entity and multi-municipality collaborative net-metering systems that submit an application for an interconnection study on or after July 1, 2017, and community remote-net-metering systems, the standard offer service kilowatt-hour charge shall be net of the renewable energy standard charge or credit;

(ii) Distribution kilowatt-hour charge;

(iii) Transmission kilowatt-hour charge; and

(iv) Transition kilowatt-hour charge.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, except for systems that have requested an interconnection study for which payment has been received by the distribution company, or if an interconnection study is not required, a completed and paid interconnection application, by December 31, 2018, the renewable net-metering credit for all remote public entity and multi-municipal collaborative net-metering systems shall not include the distribution kilowatt hour charge commencing on January 1, 2050.

(18) "Renewable self-generator" means an electric distribution service customer of record for the eligible net-metering system or community remote-net-metering system at the eligible net-metering-system site which system is primarily designed to produce electrical energy for consumption by that same customer at its distribution service account(s), and/or, with respect to community remote-net-metering systems, electrical energy which generates net-metering credits to be applied to offset the eligible credit-recipient account usage.

(19) "Third party" means and includes any person or entity, other than the renewable self-generator, who owns or operates the eligible net-metering system or community remote-net-metering system on the eligible net-metering-system site for the benefit of the renewable self-generator.

(20) "Third-party, net-metering financing arrangement" means the financing of eligible net-metering systems or community remote-net-metering systems through lease arrangements or power/credit purchase agreements between a third party and renewable self-generator, except for those entities under a public entity net-metering finance arrangement. A third party engaged in providing financing arrangements related to such net-metering systems with a public or private entity is not a public utility as defined in § 39-1-2.

History of Section.
(P.L. 2011, ch. 134, § 2; P.L. 2011, ch. 147, § 2; P.L. 2014, ch. 493, § 1; P.L. 2014, ch. 524, § 1; P.L. 2016, ch. 149, § 3; P.L. 2016, ch. 163, § 3.)