Net Metering & Billing FAQ
What is a net meter and how does it work?
A net meter measures the difference between the energy produced by a customer's own generator (e.g., solar) and the energy that customer uses from Con Edison's grid. Customers who generate their own electricity via a solar system (or other alternative source) are able to transfer any electricity they do not use back into the grid in exchange for credits on their utility bill. This transfer of energy for credits has the potential to reduce a customer's monthly electricity bill.
As a net metering customer, how will I be billed for electricity?
Your solar panels generate electricity during the day. On days when the solar panels do not meet your energy supply needs, or at night, Con Edison will supply your electricity. You are billed for your net consumption of electricity. Your net consumption is the difference between the amount of electricity supplied to you by Con Edison and the amount of electricity you generate from your solar, or other renewable, system. If the power generated by your solar installation falls short of providing 100 percent of your power needs, Con Edison's service will provide the remainder of kilowatt-hours needed and will record that amount via the net meter.
What if I generate more electricity than I use?
If your renewable system generates more electricity than you consume, your net consumption is negative. Your Con Edison bill will reflect some administrative charges (i.e. the basic service charge), but you will not be charged for any kilowatt-hours. Any excess kilowatt-hours from your renewable system will be carried forward and applied by Con Edison as a Net Meter Energy Credit for future billing periods.
What if I generate less electricity than I need?
If your solar installation does not generate enough electricity to meet your needs, Con Edison's grid will make up the difference. If you use more electricity from the grid than your renewable system generates, your net consumption is positive, and your Con Edison bill will include charges for the amount of kilowatt-hours used. If you have any Net Meter Energy Credit you may have from the prior billing period, it will be subtracted.
I have two meters, one from my installer and one from Con Edison. What's the difference?
The meter from your installer measures the total energy produced by your system before it is converted into energy that can be used by your home. (The energy produced by your panels must be converted into AC energy so that it is compatible with the grid, and there is some energy lost in the conversion process.) The net meter installed by Con Edison measures the difference in the energy generated by your system and the energy you use from the grid.
Where on my bill does it show all of the energy that my renewable system has produced?
Your electric bill does not show the energy your system produced. The net meter installed by Con Edison only provides the net energy between what your system generated and what you used from Con Edison.
How do I know that the net meter is accurate?
Each meter we install has been tested and certified for accuracy by either the manufacturer or by Con Edison's metering department prior to installation.
Why am I charged even when I don't use energy from the grid/ why do I have to pay a basic service charge?
The basic service charge covers the administrative costs associated with maintaining your account, and is not energy based.
Am I still subject to late payment charges and credit action once becoming a net-metering customer?
Yes. Although your electricity bill may be reduced, all kilowatt-hour and non-energy-based Con Edison charges require payment by the due date on your bill. You will be subject to late payment charges and any applicable credit action on outstanding balances.
How much is the energy produced by my renewable system worth?
The energy you produce and consume offsets the energy you would normally purchase from Con Edison, and is valued at the same amount that you would pay Con Edison for those kilowatt-hours. The actual cost per kilowatt-hour will vary per billing period and is based on individual customer usage patterns. For more information see Rider R in our electric tariff.
Why do I have an annual reconciliation for my Net Metering Energy Credit?
Con Edison will reconcile any excess energy once a year by multiplying any excess kilowatt-hours you have remaining (your Net Meter Energy Credit) by the Avoided Cost of Energy. That dollar value will be applied to your account as a monetary credit.
What is the Avoided Cost of Energy rate used in the calculation of the annual reconciliation?
The Avoided Cost is the wholesale price of electricity (cost to the utility). This is the marginal cost to Con Edison to purchase the equivalent amount of power from the wholesale electricity market.
Would I benefit from being on a Time of Use (TOU) billing rate?
While Time-of-Use (TOU) rates are available to all utility customers, they are not recommended to net metering customers. If you are a net metering customer enrolled in a TOU rate plan, credits for excess electricity can only be used to offset consumption in the same time period that the credits were produced. For example, credits produced during the peak period cannot be used to offset your consumption during the off-peak period.
Additionally, the annual refund check for excess credits is always based on the utility's Avoided Cost of Energy. Since the Avoided Cost of Energy is lower (per kilowatt-hour) than the retail cost of energy, excess credits have more value when they are used to offset your monthly consumption. Con Edison encourages net-metering customers to carefully consider their consumption patterns before enrolling in a TOU rate.
As a net-metering customer, is there a difference if I purchase my supply from Con Edison or from a third-party Energy Service Company (ESCO)?
The value of your Net Metering Energy Credit will be the same whether you purchase your supply from an ESCO or directly from Con Edison. However, depending on your specific contract, you may be responsible for any non-usage based and/or value-added service charges. In order to avoid additional financial impact, it is recommended that you contact your ESCO with any questions or concerns.
If I am a net-metering customer, does it make sense for me to remain on the Level Payment Plan?
No. Under the Level Payment Plan, Con Edison reviews your billing history to calculate an average monthly payment that allows you to spread your energy costs out evenly over the year. As a net-metering customer, your consumption can vary greatly from month to month and season to season.
If you are already on the Level Payment Plan, please contact us so that we can change your account settings. You can choose to remain enrolled, however, this is not recommended.
I have a three-family house with multiple residential units. Can I combine all of my electric accounts to net meter all of them with one solar installation?
This is called "master-metering." Each apartment must have its own sub-meter, and the account owner must apply to the Public Service Commission in order to sub-meter their tenants. It is possible to physically re-wire the inside of your home to combine accounts, but this will be at your cost. Depending on associated usage at the house, service rates will vary, and Con Edison will need to do an inspection to remove the unused meters from the premises.
Will my solar panels work during a power outage?
As per New York state law, grid connected solar systems shut down for safety reasons during a power outage. If you'd like to enable your system so that it will stay on, even in the event of a greater power outage, you can do so through the use of an inverter or by installing batteries.*
*Energy storage is not a net-metering technology. For more information, email email@example.com.
Who should I contact if I have additional questions?
Con Edison has a specialized net metering team within the billing department devoted to handling the questions and concerns of our net metering customers. Please direct any inquiries to netmetering@conEd.com, or should you have questions of a more technical nature you can contact the Distributed Generation Ombudsman at firstname.lastname@example.org. For service-related emergencies, please call 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633).
For Demand-Billed Customers
What is demand?
A customer's "demand" is equivalent to the amount of capacity that Con Edison must reserve in order to ensure that it can meet the customer's maximum energy needs at any given time.
A demand meter records the amount of electricity used (measured in kilowatt-hours) and the rate electricity is used which represents your demand (measured in kW). Con Edison must calculate your demand in order to ensure that its infrastructure is adequate to supply enough energy to meet the maximum needs of all Con Edison customers.
If I am a net-metering customer do I still have to pay a demand charge?
Yes. Demand charges reflect the capacity-related costs that Con Edison must carry to maintain adequate and reliable facilities that meet the maximum requirements of our customers. While solar and other net-metering technologies offset overall energy consumption, they typically do not reduce a customer's monthly demand.
PLEASE NOTE: Unlike energy-only net-metering customers who receive excess credits that offset their monthly consumption, demand-billed net-metering customers receive monetary credits, which are applied to their total monthly bills.