Bec Backs Net Billing Over Metering


Tribune Business Reporter


The BAHAMAS Electricity Corporation (BEC) prefers net billing to net metering, its general manager yesterday pledging that the utility would work with the Government to implement the legislative reforms necessry to facilitate renewable energy growth.

Kevin Basden, who attended the Platts 13th annual Caribbean Energy Conference, told Tribune Business that given the high price of crude oil, BEC would continue to pursue renewable emnergy and, where practical, allow them to connect to its grid.

“This would not only be on a utility scale, but also on a residential scale, so we would continue to work with government to get some legislative changes in place, and a policy framework in place to allow even residential customers to connect to the grid - hopefully under a net billing system, whereby it would be some benefit to the customers and Corporation,” said Mr Basden.

“Net billing is our preference as compared to net metering. We think net billing is the way to go in our situation.”

Net billing allows consumers to sell unused energy to the public electricity grid, generated from devices that harness renewable energy.

Mr Basden explained: “If it’s net metering, we would buy back from the customer at the same cost we sell. With net billing, we would buy back at a lower cost.

“If you think of a customer who is connected to the grid, if we were to buy back at the same price that we sell, they would not be paying anything in terms of the transmission, distribution and administrative side etc.

“Our view is that because the main benefit to the organisation would be fuel displacement cost, that is the approach we should look at. That way it would not be a situation where those who can afford to put in renewables would end up with a lower rate than those who can’t afford to.”


dfitzerl 8 years, 10 months ago

It is unfortunate that Mr Basden can't or will not see that he is letting an existing rate structure dictate his future policy.

If the rate structure were modified to include a fixed charge for being connected to the grid (all consumers would pay the same charge to cover the cost of T&D) and a variable charge for usage (to cover actual consumption) a net metering system would work very well. It is the system used by companies like Emera (Nova Scotia).

Generation and T&D function on two different performance basis and should be treated differently. Asking a consumer to pay a variable rate for use of static T&D assets is ludicrist.

Also, rebating a consumer for fuel avoidance only when the consumer's own generation has provided capital expansion and replacement maintenance avoidance for BEC in addition to reducing the demand and thus the capacity required to be sitting idle (on standby) is unjustified.

A better understanding of BEC's cost structure may lead to a better rate structure and thus a more mutually beneficial policy for renewables that wish to tie to the grid.


John 8 years, 10 months ago

Regardless of how much BEC restructures its billing system, consumers will not see a significant, reduction in their bills unless and untill BEC decides to wean itself off fossil fuels. Chairman Leslie Miller has the right idea and while the conversion to alternaive forms of energy may be costly it will bebefit everyone in the long term. The United States has oil and coal and other energy reserves to last at least for the next 100 yers, so they sit on theirs while consuming supplies form other countries. BEC, besides looking at natural gas, should move to solar energy. A plan should be set in place where all street and public lighting, say over the next 20 years is converted to solar. The solar panls can not only supply lighting at night but feed power into the grid during daylight hours. Likewise all homes and businesses should be encouraged to install solar panels for basic lighting, water heating and even for cooling purposes. Their excess power generation can be supplied to BEC and help reduce the amount of power the corporation has to generate from expensive fossil fuels. This will not only reduce BEC's dependence on fuel but also reduce the cost of fuel generated by the corporation. If 30% of a consumers electricity is for water heating and another 50% for space cooling the average houshold bill can be slashed at least in half by the introduction of solar energy. B.E.C's fuel bill will also be reduced significantly and it will be able to operate with a profit despite consumers having lower bills.


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