ERC to release net metering for micro-grid system rules

Author: Darvin Tocmo  Date Posted:2 October 2018 


The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is targeting to release the revised rules on net metering and, at the same time, issue the second draft rules governing the micro-grid system before the year ends.

“We are revising the net metering rules. There have been concerns raised so we are moving to refine some provisions. The complaints we received were mostly on pricing and lack of protection,” said ERC Spokesman Atty. Floresinda Digal during the Powertrends 2018 forum held in Pasay City.

“We are targeting to post the refinements in the last quarter of the year for net metering,” she added.

Under the net metering program, electricity end-users with renewable-energy (RE) installations—such as solar, wind or biomass—not exceeding 100 kilowatt (kW) can sell the electricity they generate in excess of what they can consume directly to their distribution utility.

It is a nonfiscal incentive provided in the RE law by way of granting credits earned from electricity produced net of consumption. A net metering customer is only charged for his net electricity consumption and is credited for any overall contribution to the electricity grid.

The Philippine Solar Power Alliance (PSPA), led by its President Tetchi Capellan, earlier said the current payment scheme is not being followed, contrary to what the RE law states.

“Electric power generated by an end-user may be used to offset electric energy provided by the utility company to the end-user during the applicable period. Thus, the net metering customer is only charged or credited, as the case may be, the difference between its import energy and export energy,” Capellan said.

However, a lower kilowatt price for exported energy, the generation charge, is applied to calculate the credits due to the solar rooftop homeowners, she said, adding that her group had urged the ERC to take into account the computation of credits as the present system is contrary to law.

“What rooftop solar owners simply ask if they receive the true value of solar and apply the true solar price to both exported and imported energy, to be consistent with the law, its IRR [implementing rules and regulations] and the ERC Rules,” she stressed.

On microgrid, Digal said the commission would be able to release the second draft rules also in the fourth quarter of the year.

The ERC released in 2017 the first draft of the “Licensing Rules for Distributed Energy Resources [DER] and Microgrid Systems.”

“Major issues such as allowing private entities to offer this service and the threshold, among others, are being studied now. These will be taken into consideration in the crafting of the second draft which we also target to post in the fourth quarter,” added Digal.

DERs are smaller power sources that could be aggregated to provide the power necessary to meet regular demand. DERs also pertain to demand- and supply-side resources that can be deployed throughout the system of an electric utility to meet the energy and reliability needs of the customers served by the system, including, but not limited to RE facilities, managed loads (including electric vehicle charging), energy storage, and other measures necessary to incorporate renewable generation resources, including load management and ancillary services.

The proposed DER Licensing Rules shall cover generation companies that own or operate any of the following: a DER that is installed in the premises of, and directly connected to the load side of an end-user with no interconnection to the transmission or distribution system; a DER that is installed in the premises of, and directly connected to the load side of an end-user with an existing interconnection to the transmission or distribution system; and a micro-grid system or a localized grouping of distributed energy sources, loads and storage mechanism which can operate both as part of the central grid or independently as an island.

The ERC had said there is a need to develop the DER Licensing Rules in view of the emergence of variable renewable-energy resources and facilitate the entry of distributed energy resources into the transmission and distribution systems.