Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

How does net metering work on my power bill?

All net metering customers continue to pay their monthly base charge as usual, and business customers continue to pay demand charges. If you use more electricity than you generate, you still draw from the grid as needed and receive a bill for the difference at your regular rate. If you generate more electricity than you can use, these surplus kilowatt-hours (kWh) will be “banked” and applied to your next bill to offset any electricity drawn from the grid. If any surplus kilowatt-hours remain on the account at the end of a 12 month cycle, you will be paid for that energy at the same rate you pay for electricity from the grid.

How much money will I save?

It’s hard to say. The purchase and installation of a renewable energy generator typically requires a relatively significant. Net Metering programs are intended to offer customers the opportunity to offset some or all of the electricity they draw from the grid rather than provide a source of revenue, so it’s up to each customer to determine the investment is viable. Any savings will vary based on your electricity use and the size, location, and type of your generator, among other factors.

Does NS Power design or install the generating system for me?

No. While we administer this program, NS Power does not design, engineer or install generating systems for its customers. However, there are a variety of businesses that provide these services and we recommend you consult with an electrical contractor or engineering consultant to get started.

CAN I connect my generating unit to the grid at a separate interconnection point from my home or business? 

Yes, as long as both the generating unit and the net metering account(s) are located within the same distribution zone. Any additional costs associated with such an arrangement will be your responsibility.

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

Net metering works by using a single meter capable of registering the flow of electricity in two directions, known as a bi-directional meter. This meter is approved by Measurement Canada and NS Power’s internal standards. If your existing meter is not capable of measuring the flow of electricity in two directions, (in most cases utility meters are not bi-directional) you would be responsible for the incremental costs to install this meter. The incremental cost for the meter varies depending on the application (residential vs. commercial).

Do I need an extra disconnect switch to provide isolation from NS Power’s system?

Yes, for safety reasons and compliance with the Canadian Electrical Code Regulations, generation connections require the installation of an isolation switch located between the meter and the customer’s equipment. The installation of an isolation switch allows our powerline technicians and other staff to work safely on our distribution system. These technical details can be found in the interconnection guidelines document.

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

If you want to operate your system during a power outage, the generating system 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 on the grid to restore power. It can be reconnected to our distribution system only after it has been restored and stabilized. Details outlining these requirements can be found in the interconnection guidelines document.

How will net metering work in the case of ETS customers?

If you enter the Net Metering program on the time-of-day rate, we will measure any electricity fed to or drawn from the grid by the same time-of-day periods used for billing purposes. You will be billed for their surpluses and consumption by each time-of-day period without the transfer of surplus energy from one time-of-day period another (from one rate to another).

What types of generating units are eligible for the proposed net metering program?

A qualified generation device with a production capacity up to 100 kW that uses only renewable low-impact electricity as defined in the Renewable Electricity Regulations under Section 5 of the Electricity Act. These electricity sources include:

  • solar
  • wind
  • run-of-the-river hydroelectric
  • ocean-powered
  • tidal
  • wave
  • sustainably harvested biomass
  • landfill gas

Is there a cost to sign up?

There are no application fees. However, you will be responsible for all costs incurred by NS Power to deliver the net metering service that are beyond the standard connection costs to regular customers. Examples of cost may include line extensions, metering changes, upgrading existing lines, additional poles, etc.

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

We’ll evaluate the details of your application to determine if the generator’s capacity is appropriately sized for your total annual consumption. Your electrical contractor should also be able to assist with system sizing. If you still have questions, contact us at nspower.ca.

How can I find out my annual power consumption?

If you save copies of your bills and/or subscribe to NS Power’s e-bill service, you can total the number of kWh used over the course of the year for all accounts of which you intend to net meter, or alternatively sum up the totals for past electric use for the most recent year on right-hand side of your bill.

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

We can help as well. Send your questions to nspower.ca.