Letter – City should develop net metering program

Letter to the editor from the May 7, 2014 Grand Forks Gazette newspaper.

Letter to the Editor:An important initiative regarding net metering and solar energy was completely omitted from the last city council meeting, even though… the initiating letter (below) was received two weeks prior and was specifically requested to be included. The mayor and councillors were advised of the omission from the agenda; other letters and late items were included. Councillors reported on students making solar car crafts and the museum’s solar workshop but there was no mention of this net metering initiative. The city also received, three days prior, a letter from the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association supporting the net metering program and an offer of assistance by FortisBC, which were also omitted. Why?April 13, 2014To The Mayor and CouncilCity of Grand Forks6641 Industrial ParkwayGrand Forks, BC V0H 1H0Via emailRe: Net Metering of ElectricityIt is my understanding that the City of Grand Forks purchases electricity in bulk from Fortis and sells it to the residents, that it owns the electricity delivery equipment within the city, and that it does not presently have an electricity Net Metering program established.It is important to move forward on a net metering program: • To harvest the free solar energy that is abundantly available in this area, known as the Sunshine Valley, that enjoys over 2,000 hours of sunshine per year;• To prepare for convergence of conventional electricity cost increases and solar cost decreases; • To relieve demand and strain on the existing sources of electricity;• To extend into our community the net metering programs established by BC Hydro and Fortis; • To further cooperation with the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association and their SolarBC initiative;• To establish billing for net metering as either a net consumer charge or a net generator credit for each billing period (see Fortis net metering document on-line) to effect “Net” metering;• To obtain approval from the BC Utilities Commission, as required, for this program (update – municipally-owned utilities are not regulated by BCUC);• To make bidirectional or dual meters available to those who choose to add solar or other power;• To promote net metering by keeping conversion costs to a minimum for residents;• To establish a simple and efficient application through installation process for such conversion;• To encourage use of solar and other clean renewable energy in our community and region;• To promote our community as one that is environmentally conscious and forward-thinking;• And to lead our community into a future of higher self-sustainability.Thus, it is recommended that: The City of Grand Forks research and develop an equitable electricity net metering program, and to commence and promote this program without delay.In closing, if I can be of any assistance with the development of this program, please advise.Roxanna Bolton,Grand Forks