Article

Being green gets easier for Farmington residents after council approves energy tariffs

Green power at no extra fee became official this week as the City Council approved renewable energy tariffs for the Farmington electric utility. The new structure reverses a consultant's recommendation that drew fierce protest from green-minded utility customers. The consultant recommended charging $40 of utility customers who wanted to either sell self-generated solar power back to the utility or choose to purchase renewable power from a third party in blocks. The tariff accepted this week not only ignores the recommended $40 fee, it proposes to purchase self-generated power at 8 cents per kilowatt hour, the same amount the utility charges residents.

FARMINGTON — Green power at no extra fee became official this week as the City Council approved renewable energy tariffs for the Farmington electric utility.

"What is being proposed is very generous and very encouraging on behalf of the public utility and more than fair," City Councilor George Sharpe said.

The new structure reverses a consultant's recommendation that drew fierce protest from green-minded utility customers. The consultant recommended charging $40 of utility customers who wanted to either sell self-generated solar power back to the utility or choose to purchase renewable power from a third party in blocks.

The tariff accepted this week not only ignores the recommended $40 fee, it proposes to purchase self-generated power at 8 cents per kilowatt hour, the same amount the utility charges residents. The practice is called net metering. The report proposed buying the power at wholesale cost of 3 cents per kilowatt hour.

People who want to buy renewable electric power in blocks likely will pay more for the cost of power. That will depend on the deal electric officials get when they go to market, plus a 1-cent-per-kilowatt-hour delivery charge.
Officials could begin sending out... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

FARMINGTON — Green power at no extra fee became official this week as the City Council approved renewable energy tariffs for the Farmington electric utility.

"What is being proposed is very generous and very encouraging on behalf of the public utility and more than fair," City Councilor George Sharpe said.

The new structure reverses a consultant's recommendation that drew fierce protest from green-minded utility customers. The consultant recommended charging $40 of utility customers who wanted to either sell self-generated solar power back to the utility or choose to purchase renewable power from a third party in blocks.

The tariff accepted this week not only ignores the recommended $40 fee, it proposes to purchase self-generated power at 8 cents per kilowatt hour, the same amount the utility charges residents. The practice is called net metering. The report proposed buying the power at wholesale cost of 3 cents per kilowatt hour.

People who want to buy renewable electric power in blocks likely will pay more for the cost of power. That will depend on the deal electric officials get when they go to market, plus a 1-cent-per-kilowatt-hour delivery charge.
Officials could begin sending out feelers to gauge interest before the end of the year.

Green-minded utility customers protested the fees at two meetings. A few also turned out Tuesday to thank the Council, ask questions and propose further steps.

"This is an opportunity for the city of Farmington to do not only 8 cents, but this is the time to get creative," David LeMoine said. "Farmington could be the center."

Residential net metering customers will be charged a $3-a-month fee, equal to other residential customers.

Customers will have to pay a one-time $50 application fee, fill out a form and be approved to hook into the system. They'll also have to sign a waiver agreeing to hold the utility harmless for any injuries to themselves or others.

The customers would sell power back when solar panels are producing during sunny days and buy power from the utility when it's raining or dark. At the end of each year, based on the month when the customer started service, the customer and the utility would settle up. But the energy also can roll over to the next year.

"We will not force customers to true up on that date," Electric Administrator Maude Grantham-Richards said. "They can carry it for the next year."

The tariff limits the buy back to customers with 10 kilowatt installations. While the utility may accept larger net metering customers, Grantham-Richards said those agreements would have to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

"We can only withstand so many systems," she said. "If someone wanted to build a 30-megawatt wind system, our system can't handle it. It's too small."

General service customers, which includes small- to medium-sized businesses, will be able to buy the renewable in blocks. Their fee is $4.50, in line with other general service customers, plus the cost of power and the delivery charge.

The report by Seattle-based consultants J.W. Beck was commissioned to study rates among different types of customers after the Bluffview Power Plant was completed in 2005. The report cost $191,000.


Source: http://www.daily-times.com/...

NOV 17 2007
http://www.windaction.org/posts/11968-being-green-gets-easier-for-farmington-residents-after-council-approves-energy-tariffs
back to top