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Act 133-2016 Brings Important Changes to the Net Metering Program, and Paves the Way for Community Solar and Microgrids

An McV Energy Alert

On August 6, 2016, Governor Alejandro García-Padilla signed into law Act 133 of August 6, 2016 (“Act 133”), which amends the Public Policy on Energy Diversification by Means of Sustainable and Alternative Renewable Energy in Puerto Rico Act, the Net Metering Program Act, and the Puerto Rico Energy Transformation and RELIEF Act.

Among others, Act 133:

  • Introduces the concept of micro-grids as systems of distributed energy capable of operating “off the grid.”
  • Requires the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (“PREPA”) to use meters that can be read remotely with the purpose of modernizing its Net Metering Program.
  • Mandates PREPA to set up, within 180 days from approval, an electronic filing system through which documents required by interconnection regulations can be filed online, such as certifications prepared by Puerto Rico licensed professionals. For distributed generation systems with a capacity of up to 10kW, once a licensed electrical engineer or licensed electrician certifies that such a system complies with Energy Commission and PREPA specifications, standards, laws, and regulations, the applicant will be able to interconnect and operate the distributed generation system with PREPA’s electrical system. Also, the digital signing of the interconnection and net metering agreements will be permitted, and such digital signatures will be legally valid and binding. Online case status verification and the providing of informational material must be available.
  • Orders PREPA to install new meters on the base of existing meters, and the inaccessibility of such meters shall not justify PREPA’s requesting their relocation, unless the location infringes National Electric Code standards. Customers will be required to coordinate with PREPA the access to meters that are inaccessible but that are in compliance with applicable standards.
  • Makes the State Energy Public Policy Office Solar responsible for putting forth a plan for the development of micro-grids in Puerto Rico. The Energy Commission is put in charge of establishing a regulatory framework to guide PREPA in the development of regulation for micro-grids and solar communities and set the maximum capacity of solar communities.

The content of this McV Alert has been prepared for information purposes only. It is not intended as, and does not constitute, either legal advice or solicitation of any prospective client. An attorney-client relationship with McConnell Valdés LLC cannot be formed by reading or responding to this McV Alert. Such a relationship may be formed only by express agreement with McConnell Valdés LLC.

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