Solar Leasing in D.C. and Smart Meters

By Emily Steiver on October 20, 2010

Maggio Roofing is offering a new solar leasing program for those that do not have the cash to pay for the upfront changes of solar themselves. I haven’t looked at the details yet, but there is a webinar next week if you are interested in learning more:
Event Name
Time to harness the power
DATE: October 26
TIME: 7pm
LOCATION: webinar
MORE: register at 301-891-1390

ALSO: Report from Tom Kelly who attended the recent PEPCO SMART GRID PRESENTATION

The meeting was well attended and the general public did manage to outnumber the Pepco-OPc staff in attendance. Pepco’s presentation is pretty much the same as is on it’s website regarding the rollout of the smart meters. (See MTP Solar website)

First question from the audience was about net metering, but not specifically whether the meters were net capable. We got a detailed explanation about what net meters did and a vague reference to programming the meters. I few questions later I forced a return to the question and it was confirmed that the meters they are installing will not perform the NET function. They will have to be physically programmed, probably by replacement of the motherboard, in order to perform the net function in addition to the normal data gathering info. If you presently have a net meter, you will receive a net-programmed meter. If you have not yet installed solar, you will get the average intelligence meter and have to have it reprogrammed for netting (Mensa version). We all know what this means in terms of delays.

After a number of questioners indicated some paranoia about Pepco controlling energy use and whether they would use it to screw customers, I remembered Lynn’s comment that the smart grid/meter is not harmful. I pointed out that believing the meter would reduce utility costs required a major leap of faith to begin with, meters only measure, and that the pilot program indicated that the real stimulus for reduced usage, peak rate rebates, etc. was programmable thermostats and individual alerts calls. The Pepco people consistently refused to deal with this and any dynamic pricing, feed-in tariffs, etc., issues because it is the subject of the PSC filing.

I believe the PSC rejected the OPC’s request to delay the rollout, The basic argument is that this project had to be done quickly to take advantage of the 50% funding from ARRA (stimulus), and that’s just the way it is.

There will be a series of these things, and we absolutely must encourage other coops and coop members to keep the issue in their face on every occasion. OPC is supposed to have info on its website about the scheduling. We also must, absolutely must, be formally a party to the dynamic pricing case before the PSC.

Note: Present OPC is “acting” Her second, Lawrence Daniels, who was in charge of the event, at one point went into some detail about the existence of solar coops and basically about the inevitability of solar power generation sweeping the city. Pepco people with pained expressions nodding their heads.

Tom Kelly