Balanced metering is an electricity policy for grid-connected electricity consumer/producers in which electricity flowing between the utility and the client is valued equally regardless of the direction of flow. The utility credits energy delivered by the client at retail rates toward their cash balance. Real-time balanced metering requires the use of a smart meter.
Balanced metering can be thought of as a type of net metering in which the customer is credited at retail rates for energy produced and can convert any net surplus to cash.
The widespread implementation of balanced metering for homes and small businesses would greatly accelerate the transformation of the energy economy to a renewables-based one by removing the single biggest barrier to that transformation: the utilities' unfair entitlement to their clients' surplus electricity.
Balanced metering, being simple to implement, might be overlaid with other rules. Feed-in tariffs, which take the balance out of balanced metering, would be much less necessary as a tool for encouraging renewables development in an energy economy in which the contributions of all renewables participants are equally valued. Disincentives, such as limitations on the amount of your electricity the utility is obligated to buy from you, are part of proposed legislation to reform net metering.
- Feed-in tariffs, in which energy flowing from the client to the utility is valued at a higher rate than that flowing from the utility to the client.
- Power limitations, in which electricity delivered to the utility above some power threshold is not credited to the client.
- Energy limitations, in which the client is credited only for the net energy they deliver to the utility that is under a specified ceiling.
- Monetary limitations, in which the client is credited for delivered net energy only up to specified monetary sum.
Current net metering policies are often described as highly favorable to the "consumer" -- even when allowing the utilities to pocket the consumer's surplus electricity -- because they allow consumers to offset electricity they would otherwise have to buy at retail rates. 1 2
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2. Wind Energy FAQ, [cached]