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New law increases net metering for Block Island, Pascoag utility districts

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A new law introduced by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham) and House Minority Leader Blake A. Filippi (R-Dist. 36, New Shoreham, Charlestown, South Kingstown, Westerly) will allow for increases in net metering peak for utility districts in New Shoreham and Burrillville.

Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid. The bill (2021-S 0022, 2021-H 5503) amends the maximum peak load of allowable capacity for the net metering systems in the Block Island Utility District and the Pascoag Utility District to not exceed a maximum peak load set by the utility district.

“State law restricts net metering for private solar and wind installations,” said Senator Sosnowski. “The Block Island Utility District Board of Commissioners have been developing a new policy for further installations. In order for that to happen, we need to lift the cap on net metering beyond the allowed percentage.”

The bill, which took effect immediately when it was signed yesterday, changes the maximum aggregate amount of net metering from 3% to a percentage set by the utility district based on its operational characteristics, subject to approval of the Public Utilities Commission.

“On Block Island, we’re an environmentally conscious community, and we’ve already used our 3% capacity,” said Leader Filippi. “There are hundreds of homeowners that want to purchase solar voltaic cells and put them on their roofs and produce clean renewable energy. This bill is necessary for Block Islanders to increase their solar capacity.”