Austin Energy, a municipal utility, recently issued a draft “Distributed Generation for Renewable Sources Rider,” which applies to renewable energy systems with a maximum capacity of 20 kW. Because Austin has a strong history of promoting renewable energy in the city, this draft rider is disappointing to many who support renewable energy. They claim that the draft rider would make owning a net-metered renewable energy system economically prohibitive, according to an article by Rusty Haynes writing for the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.Austin, Texas – April 9, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] Under the draft rider, customers must obtain approval from the city prior to interconnecting with Austin Energy’s electric system. This process will include submitting an application form and a signed agreement committing the customer to a one-year minimum term. Customers must pay a charge of $4.95 per kW for net-metered systems. Customers also must pay the costs of interconnecting with Austin’s electric system. These costs “could include protective devices, metering equipment, transformers, service lines or other equipment deemed necessary by Austin Energy for safe installation and operation with the City’s system.” Furthermore, customers will be responsible for any costs associated with required inspections and permits. Metering will involve a single bi-directional meter under terms of the draft rider. Customers who do not have a bi-directional meter must pay for the costs associated with the purchase and installation of such a meter. If there is a situation where, at the Austin Energy’s discretion, two meters will be used to determine the net flow of electricity, the result from the calculation will be identical to that of a single bi-directional meter. For customers who do not participate in Austin Energy’s GreenChoice program, excess generation will be multiplied by the Fuel Rate as adjusted by the appropriate multiplier in the then current “Fuel Adjustment Clause” electric rate schedule. Any credit will be netted against charges due to Austin Energy.