Washington Law: Pay for Energy You Generate?

Net metering can lead to a problematic situation. If a particular household has more solar (or other energy generation) than they need to cover their annual usage, they would end up building a larger and larger credit with the utility. Theoretically, there are at least two options for what can be done with this excess energy: Either the utility can pay the customer for it (perhaps at a wholesale rate), or the utility can throw away the credit from time to time.

Washington State law says that this credit shall be thrown away:

On April 30th of each calendar year, any remaining unused kilowatt-hour credit accumulated during the previous year shall be granted to the electric utility, without any compensation to the customer-generator.” – RCW 80.60.030(5)

In general I am fine with this policy, although it’d be neat if people could be paid some for the power. The problem I have with it is the second and third words: “April 30th”.

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