Net Metering

Our Net Metering Program allows residential and commercial customers to use small-scale renewable energy sources to generate power for their own use and supply the provincial distribution system with any surplus.  

How can I take advantage of net metering? 

There are a few things you need to do before becoming a net metering customer.  

To ensure you’re aware of the minimum technical specifications required, we strongly suggest that you submit an application form to us before making any major investments in equipment or infrastructure. 

About Net Metering

How does net metering work? 

Once you’re connected to the distribution system, we monitor your meter and subtract the amount of electricity supplied to the grid from the amount that is taken from the grid. We then bill the “net” difference between these two amounts.  

In this scenario, you’re only billed for your positive “net consumption”, which is defined as the total electricity consumption minus the total generation provided to the grid in a given billing cycle, as shown by a positive meter reading.  

Net metering also allows you to send excess electricity generated from your system to the distribution system, providing a credit that can be used for future energy requirements. On the annual anniversary date of connection, any unused credited energy will be credited on your bill. 

Who is eligible for the Net Metering Program? 

Our Net Metering Program is available to residential and commercial customers who apply and meet the eligibility criteria. Generally, eligible customers own and operate approved renewable generation facilities, such as wind, solar, photovoltaic, geothermal, biomass, tidal, or wave energy. 

To obtain net metering service, you’ll be required to submit an application form specifying the characteristics of your service requirements and generating equipment. This application process allows us to establish the technical and operating requirements for individual installations and determine what electrical system additions or modifications may be required to accommodate net metering at your premises. 

Will I be able to supply my own power needs during a power outage? 

Yes, but it’s not automatic. If you want to operate your system during a power outage, it must have special transfer and isolating capabilities installed. During an outage, your generating facility must be disconnected from the distribution system to protect our crews as they work to restore power on the grid. You can reconnect to our distribution system only after it has been restored and stabilized. Details outlining these requirements can be found in our Interconnection Requirements

Application Process

How do I apply for the Net Metering Program? 

Complete the Net Metering Interconnection Application Form or call our customer service team at 1.888.737.1296 to request copies of the application form, the Interconnection Guidelines and Interconnection Agreement

A completed application can be submitted by email or mailed to: 
Hydro Customer Service 
Hydro Place, 500 Columbus Drive 
P.O. Box 12400 
St. John’s, NL 
A1B 4K7 

It’s important that residential and commercial customers considering the Net Metering Program discuss project plans with us before purchasing or installing equipment, as requirements for specific systems will vary depending on capacity, generation type, location, and the existing distribution infrastructure in the vicinity of the generation facility. We’re here to help ensure all net metering systems are designed to meet these requirements and sized appropriately. 

Is there a cost to register? 

There are no application fees – you will be responsible for all costs incurred by us beyond the standard connection costs to regular customers. Examples include line extensions, metering changes, existing line upgrades, additional poles, etc. 

How long does the application approval process take? 

Please allow about one week for a customer service representative to contact you and confirm your application form was received. At that time, we’ll let you know if we need additional details or if your application is ready to be reviewed by our engineering department. The engineering review varies depending on the proposed system. 

How much time do I have to complete the installation after the application is approved? 

Once approved, you have two years to proceed with the operation of your generation. If it is not installed by this time, your application and subsequent approval will be cancelled. 

Do I have to sign a contract with Hydro for net metering? 

The connection of an approved Net Metering Program applicant will be subject to the customer entering a Net Metering Interconnection Agreement with us. 

Equipment Installation

What types of generating units are eligible for the Net Metering Program? 

Generally, eligible customers are those who own and operate renewable generation facilities such as wind, solar, photovoltaic, geothermal, biomass, tidal, or wave energy.  

Will you design or install my generating system? 

While we administer this program, we do not design, engineer, or install generating systems for our customers. There are a number of businesses that provide these services, and we recommend that you consult with an electrical contractor or engineering consultant to get started. To ensure you’re aware of the minimum technical specifications required, we strongly suggest that you submit an application form to us prior to making any major investments in equipment or infrastructure. 

What if I want to add additional generation or make changes to my system? 

Any changes, including additional generation, require our prior written consent. 

Will you inspect the installation? 

As part of the electrical and generating equipment installation, your electrician must obtain an Electrical Permit from the applicable electrical inspection authority and arrange to have all required electrical inspections performed and passed. 

All protective devices or functions supplied to satisfy the requirements of our Net Metering Interconnection Requirements must be tested by qualified personnel at your expense. Reports and findings of this routine testing must include “in service” settings, and test reports must be promptly made available to us. 

It’s possible that we may require and/or witness the commissioning and testing of the generation equipment. 

How do I determine if a generator is sized to meet my needs? 

The generation limit does not restrict customers from participating in our Net Metering Program. However, the rated capacity of your chosen generation equipment must not exceed the lower of the following two values: 

100 kW 

-OR- 

The capacity needed to meet your power needs, which can be roughly estimated using this equation: 

Power needed (kW) = (Annual Consumption (kWh)) / (8,760 (h) x Utilization Factor) 

Note: Utilization factor depends on the generation equipment being installed. 

For example: 
Your home’s annual consumption is 10,000 kWh and you want to install solar panels. Assuming a utilization factor of 0.15, the capacity required to meet your needs is calculated as follows: 

10,000 kWh / (8,760 h × 0.15) = 7.6 kW 

How can I find out my annual power consumption? 

You can check your past bills using myNLhydro and add up the number of kWh used over the past 12 months.   

If you’re installing a customer-generation device as part of a new service, your electrical contractor should be able to help you determine your forecasted demand. 

We’re here to help as well. Reach out to customerservices@nlh.nl.ca or call 1.888.737.1296 during business hours (8:30-4:00 M-F) and our customer service team will answer any questions you have. 

Do I need an extra disconnect switch to provide isolation from your system? 

For safety reasons, and in compliance with the Canadian Electrical Code Regulations, generation connections require the installation of an isolation switch located between the meter and your equipment. This allows our power line technicians and other staff to safely work on our distribution system. 

Do I need a new meter and, if so, do I have to pay for it? 

Net metering will ordinarily be metered using one of our single meters capable of registering the flow of electricity in two directions. If your existing equipment is not capable of safely and reliably metering the energy we supply to you, and the energy you generate and supply to us, you will be responsible for any costs related to upgrading the metering equipment. 

At our discretion, the output of your generation may be metered separately. In this case, you will provide us with the access needed to install and maintain the required metering equipment, at our expense. 

Impact on Electricity Bills

How much money will I save? 

Net metering programs offer customers the opportunity to offset some or all of the electricity they draw from the grid, any savings will vary based on your electricity use and the size, location, and type of your generator, among other factors. The initial purchase and installation of a renewable energy generator typically requires a relatively significant investment, so it is up to each customer to decide if the initial cost of set up is worth future savings.   

How does net metering work on my bill? 

As a net metering customer, you will continue to pay the applicable, regular monthly basic customer charge (commercial customers will also continue to pay demand charges, if applicable). 

If more energy is used than generated in a given month, there will be an energy (kWh) charge on your monthly bill. If more electricity is generated than used, there will be no energy (kWh) charge and the surplus will be banked and applied to future bills. You will receive a credit for any surplus remaining at the end of the annual review period. 

Compensation for these credits will be based on the marginal wholesale rate that applies to sales to Newfoundland Power for Island Interconnected customers, the imbalance rate for Labrador Interconnected customers, and the excess energy rate for diesel customers during the calendar month in which billing occurs. These rates can be found in the electricity rates section of our website

A statement will be included with your monthly electricity bill to show the energy provided to the grid, as well as any remaining banked generation credits. 

Will I be taxed only on the net amount of electricity I am billed for? 

All customers must pay the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) on the energy supplied by us during the billing month. In the case where you are required by law to collect HST on the generation you supply to us, HST will also be paid by us on the amount of your generation credit. It’s your responsibility to notify us in writing if you are required to collect HST on the energy you supply to us. The application form contains a section for your HST registration number. 

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