While the Cabinet has promised to review the Antigua Public Utilities Authority’s (APUA’s) unpopular net billing policy, the minister of information was unwilling to say whether it would actually be amended in homeowners’ favour.
Presently, the net billing policy limits the savings one can achieve through home solar installation. APUA sells power to the consumer at the commercial rate but credits power produced by the homeowner’s solar system at a lower rate.
The policy ensures that in many cases there is still significant revenue to be generated by APUA from its solar energy producing customers.
However, Melford Nicholas has argued that the difference which APUA keeps is to cover the cost of distributing the energy solar homeowners produce and feed back into the public power grid.
“APUA has to maintain a network of distribution systems. Let’s assume a homeowner reproduces two megawatts and they’re only utilising 0.8 megawatts. There’s an additional 1.2 megawatts they could sell back to APUA at a cost…
“But that is just the generation of the electricity. What about the distribution? The increment difference has to be factored in, in terms of what it costs to distribute that power and that‘s why we have two rates – one by which we sell and one by which we purchase,” Nicholas said.
This was one of a litany of reasons which the minister gave during Thursday’s post-Cabinet press conference as to why the net billing policy had remained the way it was.
More in today’s Daily Observer.