- Duke Energy filed a petition on Wednesday with the South Carolina Public Service Commission (PSC) to extend the net metering program offered to solar panel owners and customers of its subsidiary, Duke Energy Carolinas, through March 15, 2019.
- Duke Energy Carolinas has not offered net metering to its customers since August 1, after becoming the first South Carolina utility to reach the state-enforced net metering cap in July.
- The utility is collaborating with other stakeholders, including proponents of residential solar, to address the future of net metering and distributed solar development in an effort led by the state's Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS).
If the extension is accepted by the PSC, the deal would run out in the middle of next year's legislative session. The state house and senate tried to raise the 2% net metering cap during the recent summer session through a budget amendment, but it was removed at the end of June.
The legislature passed Act 236 in 2014, establishing that each utility must offer net metering to customers. The ORS-led collaborative effort on the future of net metering is dubbed "Act 236 2.0."
The extension request comes pursuant to a settlement agreement by stakeholders that are continuing to negotiate "Act 236 2.0," including solar developers and consumer representatives.
The extension would "provide consistency and certainty" for customers and the state's renewable energy industry "while Duke Energy and other interested stakeholders develop recommendations for consensus, common-sense policies that are fair and balance the interests of all who call South Carolina home," Duke spokesman Ryan Mosier said in a statement.
The extension would only concern Duke Energy Carolinas' service area. If the PSC approves the extension, the utility will update its distributed energy resources program costs for its 2019 fuel proceeding, as more customers could potentially sign up for net metering and receive full retail rate credit for the power they generate. The utility would receive cost recovery for the reimbursement paid to additional solar rooftop owners.