Generating Your Own Electricity: Net Metering
Interested in producing your own electricity? Let us provide you with general information to assist you in making an informed decision.
If you are an electric utility customer and are interested in generating your own electricity from renewable sources Ohio law allows you to do so if you meet the following criteria:
- The generating equipment for producing electricity must be intended primarily to offset part or all of the your own electricity requirements;
- Acceptable generation include solar, wind, biomass, landfill gas, hydropower, microturbines, and fuel cells;
- Such generating equipment must also be located on a your own premises; and
- Must be connected in parallel to the electric utility’s system.
What is net metering?
Net metering is a billing arrangement where customers who produce their own electricity can receive a credit on their electric utility bills for any extra electricity produced by the customer that flows back onto the electric utility’s distribution system.
Generating your own electricity may reduce your electric bill in two ways:
- The electricity you produce displaces electricity you would otherwise have purchased from the electric utility (or from a competitive supplier); and
- Your electricity bill is lowered by the amount of electricity your generating system may feed back onto the electric utility’ system.
How does net metering work?
If you want a net metering billing arrangement, your generating equipment must be connected to the local electric utility’s distribution system. Whenever your generating equipment produces more electricity than you need, the extra electricity flows backward through the utility meter on your property making it turn in reverse. This reverse metering may result in a lower monthly meter reading by the electric utility, thus lowering your electric bill.
In that case, the monthly meter reading will be lower than the last meter reading and a credit will be noted on your electric utility bill.
What happens to that credit?
The credit can be used to offset charges in future months. As a net metering customer, you may also request in writing a refund that amounts to an annual “true-up” of accumulated credits over a 12 month period.
Under net metering, are all charges subject to the credit?
The net metering credit is limited to kilowatt-hour (kWh) charges only. Net metering customers are not reimbursed for distribution or transmission services. If you have a demand (kilowatt) meter these charges also will not be reimbursed.
What if I choose a competitive electric supplier?
You will need to sign a net metering contract with your competitive retail electric supplier.
What if I am served by a rural electric cooperative or a municipal electric utility?
Rural electric cooperatives and municipal electric utilities are not required to offer net metering, but some may do so. Contact your rural coop or municipal utility to find out what they offer.
How do I get started?
Contact your local electric utility to request an application form for interconnection service for your proposed generating equipment. You must complete an application form for your electric utility to review and approve BEFORE you attempt to connect to their system.
The interconnection review process varies based on the amount of electricity you intend to produce and the location of your equipment on the electric utility’s system. Currently, there is a “simplified” and a “standard” review process. Below are two links that may assist you in determining which review process you will be required to follow:
- The Interconnection Request Screening Process (how an electric utility can determine if a customer's application is eligible for a "simplified" or a standard interconnection review).
- Technical Requirements: Single Phase equal to or less than 25kW; Three Phase less than or equal to 300 kW
Contacts for each of the electric companies
AEP Ohio (Columbus Southern Power Company and Ohio Power Company)
FirstEnergy (Cleveland Electric & Illuminating, Ohio Edison and Toledo Edison)
Use this link to familiarize yourself with the technical terms that may be used during your interconnection process: Electric Distributed Generation: PUCO Staff's Guide to IEEE 1547.