Net Metering

The Energy Office, along with the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff, has released a report entitled "Net Metering in South Carolina: Current Status and Recommendations." The document is a response to H. 3395 (2008), a joint resolution which asks for recommendations for establishing net metering programs in South Carolina. It can be found here.

Currently in South Carolina each utility has proposed its own form of net metering. These programs include:

Duke Energy/Progress and SCE&G:
The SC Public Service Commission (PSC) has asked these investor-owned utilities to provide a time-of-use and a flat rate net metering option for customers beginning July 1, 2008. Contact information for them can be found below.

Santee Cooper:
The state-owned utility, Santee Cooper, announced the inception of a pilot net billing program in Fall 2007.

Electric Cooperatives:
The electric cooperatives, which purchase power from Santee Cooper, announced a pilot net metering program in February 2008. Rates and programs vary from electric cooperative to electric cooperative. Contact your service provider for details.

About net metering:
In its simplest form, net metering employs a standard electrical meter to record the flow of energy back and forth between a customer-generator and the utility’s power grid. Net metering is usually created as an incentive for homeowners and small businesses to invest in renewable power systems. In many states, such as New Jersey and California, the programs are seeing hundreds of new participants each year, jump-starting new renewable energy service companies and creating robust markets for off-the-shelf solar and wind systems. Some worry about increased rates or safety problems, however there is no evidence that net metering has ever increased utility rates in any state or that an accident has occurred as a resulted from net metered renewable energy systems (for reference see "Freeing the Grid" report produced by the Network for New Energy Choices).

Some utilities offer different versions of ‘net metering.’ These include:

  • Net Billing: Like net metering, but kWh value is based on the time of day the customer-produced electricity is sold to the grid thereby giving a value to the time the energy is produced.
  • Dual Metering: Two separate meters measure the customer-produced electricity and the electricity sold to the grid. These systems cost more for the customer and the utility and the customer usually pays for the second meter. The value of the kWh is usually at avoided cost (the amount it costs the utility to generate the kWh).
  • Smart Metering: The customer-produced electricity is given a real-time price for each kWh sold to the grid. This is a more advanced approach to net billing.

Utility Contact Information