Duke Energy’s new net metering rates in North Carolina have been finalized, as the company has come to terms on compromise with a number of environmental organizations, including the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association; the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of Vote Solar and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy; Sunrun and the Solar Energy Industries Association.
Now that compromise has been reached and the rate design has been finalized, all that remains is approval from the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC). Once approved, the new net metering tariffs will go into effect for customers submitting applications on or after Jan. 1, 2023. Active customers and ones who submit applications before that date may elect to remain on their existing rates until January 1, 2027.
To kick off the new rates, each Duke Energy Carolinas customer will start with a monthly minimum bill of $22, minus the sum of the customer’s monthly basic facilities charge, “Customer and Distribution Energy Charges” and riders, assuming that sum is less than $22.
Solar customers within the net metering program will receive a monthly net excess energy credit of 2.68 cents, per kWh, with a monthly non-bypassable charge of 36 cents per nameplate kW of their system. Systems over 15 kW in capacity will be subject to a monthly Grid Access Fee of $2.05 for each kW over 15 kW.
As established in 2019, net metering customers are served under a residential rate schedule with time of use (TOU) and critical peak pricing (CPP). Two customer segments exist; the Time of Use with Critical Peak Pricing Schedules (RSTC) for standard customers, and Time of Use with Critical Peak Pricing Schedules (RETC) for all-electric customers. The rates differ considerably.
The RSTC rates:
- On-Peak Energy per month, 3.8440¢ per kWh
- Off-Peak Energy per month, 1.8876¢ per kWh
- Discount Energy per month, 1.4441¢ per kWh
The RETC rates:
- On-Peak Energy per month, 4.8305¢ per kWh
- Off-Peak Energy per month, 2.2670¢ per kWh
- Discount Energy per month, 1.6859¢ per kWh
The same basic structure applies to Duke Energy Progress customers. The monthly minimum bill calculation is the same, but set at $28. Solar customers within the net metering program will receive a monthly Net Excess Energy Credit of 2.64 cents, per kWh, with a monthly non-bypassable charge of 44 cents per nameplate kW of their system. Systems over 15 kW in capacity will be subject to a monthly grid access fee of $1.50 for each kW over 15 kW.
Rather than RSTC or RETC, Duke Energy Progress customers are charged under a flat TOU and CPP calculation, which has some variance as follows:
- On-Peak Energy per month, 4.704¢ per kWh
- Off-Peak Energy per month, 2.590¢ per kWh
- Discount Energy per month, 2.192¢ per kWh
According to the NCUC filing, the new net metering rates and charges align with the policy goals of North Carolina to enable 70% carbon reduction by 2030 and net zero by 2050 and were developed in accordance with a comprehensive rate design study that investigated the costs and benefits of serving net metering customers, as called for by North Carolina House Bill 589.
The rates nearly mirror a similar net metering agreement in South Carolina from September 2020.
“Duke Energy is committed to finding collaborative paths forward to help with the clean-energy transition and carbon-reduction goals in the Carolinas.” said Stephen De May, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president. “This deal ensures fair and reasonable treatment for all customers whether they choose to install solar or not.”
General Counsel and Director of Policy at North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, Peter Ledford, believes the agreement will push forward progress in North Carolina’s clean energy economy, saying “Not only does it advance the residential solar sector, it also provides a framework and agreement to work collaboratively on the next generation of non-residential net metering.”
“This agreement reflects the critical role that rooftop solar must play in North Carolina’s economy, clean energy transition, and workforce development,” said Southeast Senior Regional Director at Vote Solar, Lindsey Hallock, adding that the inclusion of a low-income solar program down the line could “bring the voices of low-income customers to the table, remove prohibitive cost barriers, and unlock the benefits of solar for more North Carolinians.”
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