Huntingburg considering dropping net metering for properties using renewable energy

The City of Huntingburg is considering modifications to the existing net-metering process for properties using renewable energy like solar panels.

The city created a net-metering ordinance allowing customers to offset their electrical usage several years ago. Two utility customers have signed up for the program since then. There is no fee to take part in the net-metering program.

According to Gas and Electrical Utilities Superintendent John Reutepohler, Indiana’s net metering program will end in July of 2022. He told the council that the Indiana Municipal Power Agency (IMPA) is pushing for cities to repeal their net metering ordinances in anticipation of this change.

According to Reutepohler, he would like to consider repealing it while the city only has two customers. Along with the repeal, the council would need to determine how to handle the two net metering customers.

Additionally, Reutepohler told the council IMPA is suggesting cities enact a meter charge for customers using renewable energy. He explained the suggestion is to increase the rates for the blocks of electricity used. “The first 300 kW has a certain rate and then it would drop down,” he said adding that IMPA is in discussion with the 61 communities they serve to consider those changes.

Subsequent blocks would drop to either a normal rate or even a lower rate depending on the amount of usage. Reutepohler told the council a study would have to be conducted to determine how to implement the new rates if they chose to go that route.

The council also heard that an issue with the meters used for these two net metering customers had caused an error with how their electrical usage was billed. The error resulted in excess charges of about $177 for the residential customer and more than $3,700 for the commercial customer over a three year period. The council approved compensating those customers for those charges.