Customers Generating Electricity at Home

By Stream Energy Director of Market Research Mike Rowley

An option for every electric customer in the states that Stream Energy sells electricity is to self-generate.  This is generally done by having a wind generator (windmill) or solar photovoltaic panels installed on the residential premise.

In the State of Texas, the law allows for self-generation. The homeowner who wants to install self-generation must contact his or her transmission/distribution service provider (TDSP) and request a distributed renewable generation (DRG) meter.  This meter is actually two directional meters built into a single device.  Most average self-generation systems do not supply enough electricity to supply the customer at peak usage times; thus, a connection to the grid is still required so that whatever residential energy usage that is not self-generated can be supplied by the customer’s retail electricity provider (REP).  The DRG meter will never show energy leaving the customer’s premise and entering into the grid as long as the customer’s usage is greater than the output of the customer’s self-generation system. It instead will only show the net energy used by the customer from the grid after the self-generated portion is consumed first. The State of Pennsylvania has similar rules.

In times where the self-generating system is generating more energy than the customer’s premise is consuming, there will be an outflow of electricity into the grid. In that case the outflow half of the DRG meter will tally the kWhs that the residential premise is supplying to the grid while reading zero inflow to the customer’s premise.  At this writing, the State of Texas does not require the customer’s REP to compensate the customer for this generation supplied to the grid.  There are REPs in the State of Texas that will purchase your “green” energy contribution to the grid, if you in return purchase only green energy from them.