2384.96 Dollars!

cfmuehlingOctober 25, 2006

So we've had our first month running our solar water and electricty system. Our meter has not run forwards during the daylight hours since installation.

I got our first BG&E bill and with great excitement, opened it only to burst out loud laughing. It appears that instead of crediting us, they billed us for the produced electricty totalling a nice bill of $2384.96.

Interestingly enough, when I emailed them to ask them to check, somehow our bill dropped down to -$115.69, then someone appeard at our meter to ask us why were were tampering with it? After all, it was running backwards. My husband walked him 12 steps to the right to show him the panels. He nodded, replaced our meter and padlocked it. After all, his supervisor (with whom we've never corresponded, talked nor met) said the meter was being tampered with. Uh-huh.

I still can't find anyone to sign me up for netmetering, which is frustrating. But I won't give up! :)

Love this stuff. Oh - we're currently living with space heaters, computers, TVs, and some lighting. Since we're rebuilding, things aren't normal (no heat, kitchen, walls, floors or outlets), but we don't have any trouble running what we need off the switch box.

So it goes!


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I'm confused. You have a grid tie-in without the power companies permission? Isn't that a big no-no? Who did the install? I would think that it would be their responsibility to get everything in order.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 2:18PM
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*I* didn't do a grid-tie without the power company's permission. Our installer handled it, with sign-off.
You would think it would be their responsibility, but along with the run-around BG&E offers, they insist upon talking with the owner for net metering. However, no one knows what's what.


    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 2:44PM
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I have tried to email you with no luck. Could you please call me so we can talk about your systtem? I live just North of Baltimore and am seriously considering what you have for our new home. Thanks Much 410-599-8803


    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 10:22AM
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Laws etc vary wildly from state to state . . some do NOT allow net metering, some do not allow and credit / payment for net excees that you generate . . some require dual meters . .

I too ran into the approval fiasco; the guy who showed up from the utility was completely clueless . . . but they gave me my interconnect approval. Took them over a year to be able to reflect "negative usage" on a bill; they finally got it right.

What kind of capacity do you have that you can run electric heaters from ? ? ? ? I generate 85% of all my annual household electricity with my 2.8 kW PV system, and I could only run perhaps two room-sized heaters when the sun is bright . . something doesn't sound quite right . . .


    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 7:06PM
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Texas, one of the first states to legislate net metering is clueless when a resident wants information on the subject. The PUC refers the resident to thier power provider. In most instances the provider takes a phone number and never returns the call. I drilled down to the appropiate person with my provider. Comments made were in direct opposition to what the provider officially said. The official method would cost thousands of dollars to setup the connection with a monthly fee of hundreds of dollars. The unofficial method is to register the equipment models with the provider and have a knowlegable electrician install the switchgear. If the resident does not pull a permit, it is done. Texas does not require the provider to pay for excess power produced. It does not make sense to generate more than you need. Since the provider is allowed to charge a connection fee, it makes more sense to produce less than what is needed. This will offset the connection fee.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2006 at 10:34AM
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Where power companies permit user generated power to enter their grid, special billing povisions are set up. To do this requires two meters: one to measure the power taken from the grid and the amount sold to the grid. There are two different costs per kilowatt-hours: The power company pays a lesser fee for user power returned to the grid than the fee paid by for power taken from the grid.

Why is this, you might say? The power's company arguement goes like this. The power that one buys contains the cost of generation plus transmsitting the power to the user. The transmission, or delivery, cost includes equipment, power lines, and transmission losses. The power company argues that it is unfair to use their equipment and investment for free, and it is unfair to other customers who are paying for these fees. In other words, it is unfair to use their equipment for free to transmit your generated power. Therefore, they substract these costs from the total leaving what they are willing to pay for user generated electricity. To track these costs requries two meters: one for power-in and another for power-out.

Older meters will run forward or backward, but new meters installed in my neighborhood will not run backwards.

User generation has another techincal problem and that is control of the line frequency and voltatge. To date, this has not been significant since the amount of power pumped into the grid at the user's end has been small compared to the power station. The power grid can absorb a certain amount of remotely injected power and yet maintain control. This will become a problem when the amount of remotely injected power becomes a significant portion of power delivered.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2006 at 1:00AM
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"There are two different costs per kilowatt-hours: The power company pays a lesser fee for user power returned to the grid than the fee paid by for power taken from the grid.

Umm, not where there is net metering - that's the whole point.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 5:08PM
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We live in western Howard County, MD. Who did your installation, would you use them again and if you don't mind, what did it cost? My wife and I are just beginning to look into this. BTW did you apply for the credits which MD offers?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2006 at 4:59AM
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