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Frequently Asked Questions

Answer:

Net metering is the process of measuring the difference between the electricity supplied over the electric distribution system (by your utility company) and the electricity generated by an eligible on-site generator and fed back into the distribution system. Historically, the electric grid has been a series of one-way streets with power flowing from a power plant to your neighborhood, street, and eventually your home. However, the concept of net metering is changing the way poles and wires are used. Homeowners who generate more electricity than they need through home-installed solar, wind, or other systems can push that electricity back out through their meters as a surplus. The “net” in net metering refers to the process where a customer’s overall account bill now reflects both the power being used and the amount of power being generated.

Answer:

Yes. If an electric generation facility can be connected to the electric system, you need to apply for interconnection. Properly installed emergency generators with a transfer switch do not need to apply.

Answer:

Distributed generation is still a relatively new technology, and in order to assure that the system remains reliable and growth is managed in an affordable, responsible way, state regulators closely monitor the number of new projects on the system. Caps are legislated policy limits on the total number of net metered facilities on a utility’s infrastructure. The cap does not apply to net metering facilities of 10 kW or less single phase and 25 kW or less three phase. For the latest information, click here to see where we are against the current regulated cap.

Answer:

Unitil does not endorse one company over another, but the Department of Public UtilitiesPublic Utilities Commission does keep a record of companies that are licensed to install projects and is a good resource to confirm the legitimacy of a business.

Answer:

With any major energy decision, especially one that involves a long-term contract, it is a good idea to get as much information as possible before making a decision. When entering into a long-term contract, good questions include the length of the contract, whether rates or payments are level or escalate, and what protections exist for you, the buyer, as part of the process. The Attorney General’s office released a press release in 2016 advising homeowners considering solar panel installations to be informed at bit.ly/2fVqIrE.

With any major energy decision, especially one that involves a long-term contract, it is a good idea to get as much information as possible before making a decision. When entering into a long-term contract, good questions include the length of the contract, whether rates or payments are level or escalate over the duration of the contract, and what protections exist for you, the buyer, as part of the process. The Public Utilities Commission provides net metering information on its website, including a Homeowner’s Guide to Solar Financing at bit.ly/2fVjIed.

Answer:

The length of time for the application process depends on the size and complexity of the generator system. Most applications for residential systems 1015 kW or smaller will receive conditional approval to install the system within 2025 working days from the time the application is sent to Unitil. Please note that once installation is approved by Unitil and by the local inspector, Unitil will still need to change your meter to one which measures power flow in both directions before the interconnection is completed. Applications for commercial or industrial systems should contact Unitil directly.

Answer:

This is the 1st read on your meter. This figure is measuring the energy (in kWh) passing from our electric infrastructure through the meter into the home. This is not the total amount of energy your home is using, but only the amount you are drawing off the wires coming down your street.

Answer:

This is the 2nd read on your meter. This figure is measuring the amount of energy (in kWh) passing from your home back through the meter and onto Unitil’s infrastructure. It is important to note that this figure does not directly measure the amount of electricity generated by your facility. As your facility generates energy, your home is drawing from that power before it reaches the meter. This reading is only measuring the surplus energy that leaves your home without being used.

Answer:

This is the 3rd read on your meter. The net, or difference, between the first two (+W and –W) readings. This is your net read, and is represented as a credit or charge on your next energy statement. NOTE: These readings are cumulative, meaning they do not reset to zero after each billing period. To measure a specific time frame, check the meter at the beginning and end of the time frame you want to check. Then, subtract the readings from the end of this period from the ones observed at the starting point to get an idea of your usage.

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