August 10, 2017
CT Green Guide

PURA: No virtual net metering for MDC

Contributed photo
Contributed photo
An MDC water tunnel beneath Hartford's North End.

The Metropolitan District (MDC), which provides water and sewer services to its member municipalities, is not itself a municipality, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority said in a recent draft ruling.

That means the regional water authority is ineligible to participate in the state's virtual net metering (VNM) program.

MDC petitioned PURA in April to allow a 250-kilowatt hydroelectric plant it's building in New Hartford to be allowed into the program.

VNM allows municipalities to use the unused surplus electricity generated at one location to offset electricity bills at separate locations, like town buildings and schools. Agricultural land owners are also eligible for VNM.

MDC said Hartford and surrounding member municipalities would have benefitted from its inclusion in the program. The New Hartford facility, known as Barkhamsted Hydro No. 1, is expected to be operational by October.

If PURA finalizes its draft ruling, MDC could lose its place in Eversource's VNM queue. Demand is higher than program's statewide annual cap of $4 million. Eversource said in May that it had 13 projects totaling more than 13 megawatts on its waiting list.

PURA agreed that MDC's member towns would benefit if the water authority was allowed to participate, but said it could not ignore state statutes, which "explicitly distinguished" municipalities from regional water authorities.

PURA also said there's no indication that the legislature intended to allow water authorities to participate in VNM, and noted that prior testimony from water authorities and others acknowledged that they were not eligible for VNM.

In addition, Senate Bill 1079 in 2015 would have authorized water companies to participate in VNM, but it did not pass.

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