Renewable Energy FAQ

Effective July 1, 2021

What are the components of my rate?

 GEUS Utility rates have several components.

  • Customer Charge: 
    1. This charge covers Fixed costs regardless of usage. 
    2. Electric Metering costs and customer service
    3. This cost is only adjusted during a rate review.
  • Energy Charge (Residential and General Service)/ Demand Charge (Non-residential only).
    1. This is a charge based on energy consumed but does not cover the cost of the energy itself.
    2. Transmission, Distribution, and Substation costs; cost for capital expenditures
    3. This cost is only adjusted during a rate review.
  • Fuel Adjustment Charge (FAC)
    1. Covers cost of energy including power plant operations and maintenance, fuel purchases, and wholesale energy purchases. 
    2. This cost can be adjusted monthly.
  • Other Charges.
    1. Regulatory charge
      • This cost can be adjusted monthly.
      • Charge per KWH or KW
    2. General fund transfer (GFT) to City of Greenville/ Greenville Board of Development (GBOD) Transfer
      • Percentage of all-electric charges.

What is changing?

 The credit for energy exported to the GEUS grid is changing from Net Metering to Net Billing. Under the new rate structure, energy exported to the GEUS system will be credited FAC. This is known as avoided cost where customers receive credit for the cost of energy the utility avoided purchasing. Customers will no longer receive credit for Energy Charge (delivery costs). 

 In the past residential solar customers would be credited the same rate for energy exported to the GEUS system as energy received from the GEUS system. If the customer exported more than they received in a billing month, they would be credited FAC for the monthly excess. This was a modified Net Metering credit.

Why the change?

Grid-tied solar systems depend on the electric grid to function. The costs of maintaining the grid (Energy Charge) along with the cost of energy (FAC) were previously being credited for energy exported to GEUS. This resulted in non-solar customers subsidizing grid operations and maintenance costs.

Am only getting Fuel Adjustment Charge (FAC) for what my system produces?

DG customers that consume at the same time they produce avoid drawing energy from the grid, therefore, saving the Energy Charge (delivery) and FAC portion.

DG customers that produce excess energy (beyond their consumption) will receive credit for the avoided cost which is the FAC rate.

What can I do to benefit from my solar system?

DG customers can benefit from their solar system by aligning their usage with the production of the system. Methods of doing this are:

  • Utilize west-facing panels when possible. West-facing panels are more closely aligned with residential summer usage.
  • During the summer: 
    • Turn the thermostat down when solar is producing, and up when the solar system is producing little to no power. Prechilling the home when energy is provided from the Solar System can result in less energy use from GEUS.
  • During the winter (for homes with electric heat pumps and furnaces)
    • Preheating the home with electric heat when energy is provided from the Solar System can result in less energy use from GEUS.
  • Align electrical high usage activities such as laundry, cooking, and dishwasher to peak solar production times.
  • Track energy usage frequently (GEUS house meter or third party) and make adjustments. See “How is my bill calculated” below for more information on the GEUS meter registers.

Customers can also install grid-tied batteries. Grid-tied batteries will use excess energy from the DG to charge batteries. When consumption exceeds DG system output, the batteries will output energy to reduce energy imported from the grid

How can I read my meter?

  • Locate the main meter base, this typically has a large conduit (pipe) going to overhead wires or going into the ground.
  • Direction of power
    1. Digital meters contain an emulator that simulates a wheel from an electro-mechanical meter. This emulator consists of multiple bars. If the bars move from left to right, energy is being received by the customer (FWD register accumulating). If the bars move right to left, energy is being exported by the customer to the GEUS grid (REV register accumulating). 

  • Register Readings
    1. Wait for the meter to go into Display Check Mode. The display should show all 8s and every display should be shown.
    2. The first reading after the display check is the FWD register. A kWh indicator should also show.
    3. The second reading after the display check is the REV register. A kWh indicator should also show.
    4. The third reading after the display check is the NET register. A kWh indicator should also show. This should be the same number as the first reading subtracted from the second reading.
    5. Other readings may cycle though such as amps and voltage before the cycle starts again with  Display Check Mode.

Most Solar meters (production meters, not house meters) are wired to go forward when producing. Solar meters are for information and troubleshooting purposes and are not currently used for billing.

Solar Register Display 1

Step 1 Wait for display check mode.

Solar Register Display 2

Step 2 The first reading after Display Check is the Forward (FWD) register. (612 kWh)

Solar Register Display 3

Step 3 The second reading after Display Check is the Reverse (REV) register. (453 kWh)

Solar Register Display 4

Step 4 The third reading after display Check is the NET register (159 kWh). This should be the same number as the FWD-REV reading (612-453=159kWh).

Are you now billing from the second meter?

The production meter on the DG system is for informational and troubleshooting purposes only and currently is not used for bill calculation. The bill is calculated from the Forward (FWD) and Reverse (REV) registers on the house electric meter.

Doesn’t solar provide a benefit to the grid, why can’t I get a bigger credit?

The AC Electric Grid is designed and built for peak usage. Solar Systems put out very little energy during peak usage periods. Energy cannot be stored on the AC electric Grid. Exported excess energy must be consumed by another customer. A South-facing solar system may only put out 5% of its peak power at 6 p.m.

A large portion of electric costs is delivery costs. The presence of a grid-tied solar system does not reduce these costs. Costs of standby crews, tree trimming, and line maintenance are not affected by grid-tied solar systems.

Will my meter go backward if I have a DG system?

DG meters have three registers: the Forward Register (FWD), the Reverse Register (REV), and the Net Register(NET). The Forward and Reverse registers are used to calculate a customer’s electric bill.

Exporting power into the grid will not cause the Forward register to decrease (but the NET register will decrease, and the REV register will increase.

How will my bill be calculated?

The bill is calculated by using the FWD and the REV registers on the House meter. The PV meter (Production meter) is not used to calculate the electric bill. The FWD and REV registers on the house meter are read independently. The previous months' FWD reading is subtracted from the current FWD reading to calculate the energy received from GEUS (FWD register difference).  The previous months' REV reading is subtracted from the current REV reading to calculate the energy exported to GEUS (REV register difference).

Customer Charge

 

$11.25

Energy Charge

Difference in FWD register on House meter. (Energy Delivered from GEUS system)

Energy Charge+

Fuel Adjustment Factor+

Regulatory Charge

Energy Charge Credit

Difference in REV register. (Energy Exported to GEUS system)

Fuel Adjustment Factor

General Fund Transfer


5% of Total charges

GBOD Transfer


1% of Total charges

 

Can you give me a real-life example of how my bill is calculated?

This example uses rates from 5/24/2021. FAC and Regulatory charges can be adjusted monthly and may change.

  • FAC $.025
  • Energy Charge $.0653
  • Regulatory Charge $.002

If a customer’s Meter Reading is:

 

Current Month

Previous Month

Difference (Calculated)

FWD (Energy from GEUS)

10,146

9,655

491

REV (Energy exported to GEUS)

8,069

7,415

654


Customer Charge

 

$11.25

$11.25

Energy Charge Received from GEUS (FWD)

491 KWH

=491*(.06353+.025+.002)

$44.45

Energy Charge Credit Exported to GEUS

(REV)

654 KWH

=654*-.0025

-$16.35

Subtotal

 

 

$39.35

General Fund Transfer

5%


$1.97

GBOD Transfer

1%


$.39

Total (before Taxes)

 

 

$41.71

This billing method will be effective July 1, 2021.

This example uses rates from 5/24/2021. FAC and Regulatory charges can be adjusted monthly and may change.