BEFORE THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SERVICE REGULATION
OF THE STATE OF MONTANA
In the matter of the amendment of ARM 38.5.8401 and 38.5.8408 pertaining to Small Generator Interconnection definitions and procedures
NOTICE OF AMENDMENT
TO: All Concerned Persons
1. On April 17, 2020, the Department of Public Service Regulation (department) published MAR Notice No. 38-5-245 pertaining to the public hearing on the proposed amendment of the above-stated rules at page 651 of the 2020 Administrative Register, Issue Number 7. On May 29, 2020, the department published a Notice of Revised Public Hearing Procedures on Proposed Amendment at page 955 of the 2020 Montana Administrative Register, Issue Number 10. The Revised Public Hearing Procedures Notice indicated that due to the ongoing state of emergency in Montana involving the coronavirus, the previously scheduled in-person hearing on the proposed amendment would be conducted electronically.
2. On June 2, 2020, a public hearing was held electronically on the proposed amendment of the above-stated rules. Several comments were received by the June 5, 2020, deadline.
3. The department has thoroughly considered the comments received. A summary of the comments and the department responses are as follows:
COMMENT 1: One commenter stated that the department is without authority to define the term premises, as the department began the rulemaking process in reference to the 2017 Montana Legislature's Senate Bill 11, which provides the department with authority to promulgate rules to ensure public safety and net metering reliability. Another commenter noted that ARM 38.5.8401 was adopted to facilitate implementation of Section 1254 of the Electricity Modernization Act of 2005, not Title 69, chapter 8, MCA.
RESPONSE 1: The department disagrees with the comments. Section 69-8-403, MCA provides that the department may promulgate any other rules necessary to carry out the provision of Title 69, chapter 8, MCA. The net metering statutes are provided in part 6 of chapter 8. This statute appropriately vests the department with rulemaking authority to define premises. Collateral authority in 69-8-604(2), and 69-3-103, MCA may also be appropriate.
COMMENT 2: One commenter proposed that premises should be defined as the customer-generator's service address in the utility's billing system with net metering system(s) that in aggregate do not exceed 50 kW in capacity. Another commenter stated the definition of premises should be the area that is owned, operated, or leased by the customer-generator that is served by each metered electrical service. One net metering system with a nameplate capacity that does not exceed 50 kW-AC is permitted per metered electrical service on a premises. A third commenter stated that the definition of premises should be a tract of land with the same physical service address as that used to identify a service location within the company's billing system. A premises may include multiple services (meters). A fourth commenter wanted the definition of premises to allow for the flexibility to have a net metering system spread across multiple buildings in cases such as a 100-unit apartment development spread across eight buildings.
RESPONSE 2: In response to comments, the department has changed the definition of premises to a customer-generator's service address that is identified in a utility's billing system and that, in the case of net metering systems, is limited to one net metering system, with a maximum nameplate capacity of 50 kW, for each classification of electric service that is provided by the utility at that address. The first clause of the department's approved definition applies to all small generator facilities, while the text that follows is specific to net metering systems. Montana statute does not define premises or specify how many net metering systems a customer-generator may interconnect to the utility, so the department adopted some of the language proposed by commenters while adhering to the provisions of Montana's net metering statute.
The department provides the following examples for how it interprets the definition of premises:
A school district that has several service addresses in a utility's billing system may have one net-metering system per service address.
A school district that has multiple buildings at one service address may only install one net-metering system.
A multi-unit apartment building may have one net-metering system per unit for each unit that has a unique service address.
If a premises has two classifications of service—for example a farm or school district receiving irrigation and residential services at one service address—each classification may have its own net-metering system, and each of those systems may not exceed 50 kW in nameplate capacity.
COMMENT 3: One commenter stated that the department's proposed definition of small generator facility should be amended to allow for storage-only facilities.
RESPONSE 3: The department concurs and amends the definition of small generator facility to mean an energy resource(s) for the production and/or storage of electricity that has an aggregate nameplate capacity that is less than or equal to 10 MW and is designed to operate in parallel with the electric distribution system.
COMMENT 4: Several commenters stated that utilities currently do not collect the information required in the previously proposed ARM 38.5.8408(12)(c) of the reporting requirements and that gathering the information would be burdensome.
RESPONSE 4: The department agrees with the comments. The department removed ARM 38.5.8408(12)(c) of the reporting requirements from the rulemaking.
COMMENT 5: Several commenters stated that the previously proposed ARM 38.5.8408(12)(d) (now the new (12)(c) after the previously proposed (12)(c) was deleted) of the reporting requirements was unclear and that utilities did not need to be monitoring behind-the-meter generation. The commenters stated that (12)(d) should be clarified to require only information on the amount of energy exported to the utility's system.
RESPONSE 5: The department agrees with the comments. The department amended the reporting requirement in the previously proposed (12)(d) (now (12)(c)) to read, the total amount of generation exported to the utility's system for the 12-month period ending December 31 of the prior year, including the amount of distributed energy generation exported to the utility's system, tabulated by resource type.
4. The department has amended the following rules as proposed with the following changes from the original proposal, new matter underlined, deleted matter interlined:
38.5.8401 DEFINITIONS Terminology used in these rules has the following meanings, except where the context clearly indicates otherwise:
(1) through (17) remain as proposed.
(18) "Premises" means the customer-generator's
real property served by each metered electrical service. Only one net metering system, with an aggregate nameplate capacity that does not exceed 50 kW, is permitted per premises. service address that is identified in a utility's billing system and that, in the case of net metering systems, is limited to one net metering system, with a maximum nameplate capacity of 50 kW, for each classification of electric service that is provided by the utility at that service address.
(19) remains as proposed.
(20) "Small Generator Facility" means an energy resource(s) for the production
, and/or storage and production, of electricity that has an aggregate nameplate capacity that does not exceed 10 MW, and is designed to operate in parallel with the electric distribution system.
AUTH: 69-3-103, MCA
IMP: 69-3-102, MCA
38.5.8408 ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS (1) through (11) remain as proposed.
(12) Each utility subject to these rules must file with the commission an annual report detailing:
(a) and (b) remain as proposed.
(c) the number of frequency or voltage events on the EDS side of the system that required interconnections at Level 1 to trip;
(d) (c) the total amount of generation exported to the utility's system for the twelve-month period ending December 31 of the prior year, including amount of distributed energy resource generation broken out exported to the utility's system, tabulated by resource type; and
(e) (d) the average time of approval for small generator interconnection requests at Level 1.
AUTH: 69-3-103, MCA
IMP: 69-3-102, MCA
/s/ JUSTIN KRASKE /s/ BOB LAKE
Justin Kraske Bob Lake
Rule Reviewer Chairman
Department of Public Service Regulation
Certified to the Secretary of State November 10, 2020.