Frequently Asked Questions
- What is needed to get my solar application included in the original NEM tariff?
Before SDG&E reaches the NEM Cap, SDG&E must receive the following for the solar application to be included in the original NEM tariff.
- a complete NEM application, including signed Terms and Conditions. These documents are the responsibility of the customer and/or the customer.
- The electrical clearance from the Authority Having Jurisdiction. This is the responsibility of the City or County, where the premise is located, to send to SDG&E. Once we receive the electrical clearance, it is automatically updated in DIIS.
- What is the difference between NEM and NEM-ST?
The main differences between NEM-ST (the Successor Tariff) and the original NEM tariff are these changes, for NEM-ST:
- A one-time, non-refundable interconnection fee of $132 will be due with the NEM-ST application for systems generating less than 1 MW. This fee covers the costs to process the application, conduct inspections, and other work necessary to support the Net Energy Metering program. Information on how to pay this fee will be included in the application process in DIIS. Systems larger than 1 MW will follow the process and costs according to Rule 21, which includes an $800 application fee. Systems larger than 1MW will be responsible for interconnection study and grid upgrade costs, if any. Customers participating in the Single Family Affordable Solar Housing (SASH) program (Grid Alternatives) will not be charged an interconnection fee.
- The application must include a statement certifying that a warranty of at least 10 years has been provided on all equipment and it’s installation.
- Customers will pay certain “non-bypassable” charges on the kWh delivered from the distribution grid. Non-bypassable charges cover Public Purpose Program charges, nuclear decommissioning charges, Department of Water Resources bond charges, and competition transition charges.
- Residential customers on NEM-ST will transition to Time Of Use (TOU) rates when those become effective in SDG&E’s territory.
- How will I know when my account will start billing on net metering
Billing under net metering will begin on the meter reading date preceding the final SDG&E® inspection and authorization to interconnect your solar system. This is also the starting date of your first settlement period.
- What is a “settlement period”?
It’s the 12-month period that begins the day you start billing as a net metering customer and ends 12 months from that date. Going forward, your 12-month settlement period, also referred to as your true-up period or relevant period, remains the same.
- Will my natural gas account billing be affected by changing my electric service?
Yes, your natural gas billing will be separated from your solar electric billing. You'lll now receive two separate monthly billing statements, one for net-metered solar electricity and one for all other meters at the premises, such as gas and additional electric meters, if you have any. Each will have a different account number. If you’re currently on auto pay for your combined electric/gas account, your electric account will remain on auto pay but your gas account will not. If you’d like to have your new gas-only account on auto pay, you’ll need to sign up for the program. To sign up for auto pay, please call 1-800-411-7343.
- If I have an outstanding balance, does it need to be paid?
Yes, charges for services used prior to the net metering start date must be paid by the due date displayed on your bill. For questions regarding required payments, please call 1-800-411-7343.
- I’m currently enrolled in the Level Pay Plan. Can I stay on it?
The Level Pay Plan, or LPP, isn’t available to net metered customers. When your net metering begins, your LPP will terminate and any charges or credits will be applied or due at the time of conversion. Residential NEM customers will be placed on a Time of Use (TOU) rate in the future.
- Will SDG&E continue to read my meter(s) each month?
SDG&E will continue to collect monthly reads from your meter(s). If you have a smart meter, data from the meter may be collected and transmitted wirelessly to SDG&E.
- What information will I receive on my bill?
In addition to the information currently on your bill, a Net Energy Metering Summary will also be displayed on your bill. This can be found on the second to last page of your bill. This summary provides a monthly accounting of your energy usage and generation credits if you generate more electricity than you use during a monthly billing period.
- Is the Net Energy Metering Summary viewable online?
Yes, it can be viewed through My Account. Visit sdge.com/myaccount to register for online viewing and other energy management tools.
- What charges will be offset by my generation credits?
Generation credits will be applied to the electric energy charges on your net-metered solar electric account. Generation credits can’t be used to offset other charges such as monthly minimum charges, customer charges or demand charges. These are costs to SDG&E that aren’t recovered in energy rates and therefore by law, can’t be reduced by net generation credits. They also can’t be used to offset charges billed on gas and non-solar electric meters.
- Will a monthly service fee be added to my bill?
Monthly fees may be applied but will vary depending on your rate and level of usage. For example, residential customers pay a minimum charge of $0.329 per day (CARE, FERA and Medical Baseline customers are billed at a reduced minimum charge of $0.164 per day.) The minimum charge is applied only if your total electric charges are below the minimum. If your electric charges are above the minimum, then the minimum charge is already met.
At annual true-up, your full 12-month settlement period is looked at collectively to ensure you have received maximum benefit for your excess generation. The minimum charge will apply only if the total electric charges calculated at true-up are below the minimum charge requirement. This may result in an adjustment to the minimum charges applied throughout the year.
For non-residential customers, the customer charge is based on your usage and billing rate. These charges apply to all customers, not just those with solar systems and help offset the fixed costs of being connected to the electric grid.
- Why am I billed separately for gas and electricity?
You’re billed separately for these services because there are different payment rules for each service. Bills for gas and non-solar electric service need to be paid each month. However, if you’re a residential or small business customer, your bills for net-metered solar electric service don’t need to be paid until the 12-month true-up period, although you may pay them each month if you prefer.
- Why am I still receiving a monthly bill if I’m not required to pay for my electricity on a monthly basis?
Although you aren’t required to pay monthly, you’ll still receive a monthly bill which includes your net metering summary. When no payment is due, the front page of your bill will display a message telling you that payment isn’t required at this time, along with your true-up date and the current account balance. At the end of your annual settlement period, the first page of your bill will display the amount due and the payment due date. We encourage you to carefully track your monthly charges so you’re not caught with a large balance due at true up.
- If I generate more electricity than I use will I get money back each month?
No. If you generate more electricity than you use during a particular month, you’ll receive a generation credit for the month. We keep track of the generation credits and apply them to energy charges accumulated during other months within the 12-month settlement period.
- How do you calculate the dollar amount of my generation credits?
First we start with the excess amount of energy you generated for the month, which is determined by subtracting the number of kilowatt hours (kWh) you used from the number of kWh you generated. Then we multiply the excess kWh by the price per kWh to determine the credit you will receive. Because the price of energy can vary, we perform this calculation separately for each month your system generates more electricity than you use. The dollar value of your excess generation is carried forward and used to offset charges for energy supplied by SDG&E.
- I see a cumulative balance, and I see remaining credits. Why aren’t the credits being applied to my cumulative balance?
During the billing year, retail credits are generated based on the excess generation returned to the utility. The credits are applied during that billing month. Any leftover credits are carried forward to subsequent billing months. Credits are not applied to previous billing months until true up. At annual true-up any remaining retail credits are applied to any remaining cumulative balance from earlier months.
- Am I required to make a payment each month on my net metered electric account?
Residential and small business customers aren’t required to make monthly payments on your net metered electric account, but you can if you’d like. At the end of the 12-month settlement period your true-up bill will display the amount due for the full settlement period less any payments you’ve made.
Agricultural and large business customers are required to make monthly payments.
- Can my electric service be disconnected if there is a past due balance on my net metered electric bill?
Residential and small business customers aren’t subject to disconnection for non-payment during the 12-month settlement period. However, if at the end of the settlement period there’s a balance due and you fail to pay this amount by the date requested, your electric service will be subject to disconnection. During the 12-month settlement period, if you receive late notices regarding past due amounts please contact our Customer Contact Center at 1-800-411-7343.
Agricultural and large business customers are subject to disconnection for late payments during the 12-month settlement period because monthly payments are required.
- As a net metering customer, am I eligible to participate in either the auto debit program or the pay-by-phone program?
Yes. Net metering customers can participate in either program. However, if you participate in one of these programs, you’ll not have the ability to postpone payments on your account until the end of the 12-month settlement period.
- Can I enroll or stay enrolled on the Level Pay Plan?
No, the Level Pay Plan isn’t available to net metered customers.
- How will I know when the 12-month settlement period is up and my yearly payment is due?
At your settlement month, the top of the first page of your SDG&E bill will display “Net Energy Metering True-Up Bill.” The bill will also display the amount due and the payment due date. If you generated more electricity than you used for the full settlement period, your true-up bill will also include the Excess Generation Credit applied to your account.
- What information will you provide to me at the end of the settlement period?
On your true-up bill, your Net Energy Metering Summary provides the information you need to reconcile the full settlement period. This includes your net consumption or net generation for each billing period, your excess generation credit, if applicable, any credits and payments posted to your account and your current account balance.
- Do I need to contact SDG&E at the end of the 12-month settlement period in order to continue as a net metering customer?
No. Your net metered billing will continue the following year. If you’re no longer using your solar system, please contact us at 1-800-411-7343 to return your account to standard billing.
- How can I tell if I have excess generation?
On the Net Energy Metering Summary included with your true-up bill, if the YTD “Total kWh” is a negative number, you have excess generation and are entitled to a payment. The amount of your payment is displayed as the “Excess Generation Payment” on your summary. If the “Total kWh” is a positive number, you used more electricity than you produced over your true-up period.
- How is my Excess Generation Payment calculated?
CA Assembly Bill 920 (AB920) specifies that excess generation remaining at the end of your true-up period be compensated at the Net Surplus Compensation (NSC) rate. This rate may fluctuate monthly, as it’s based on a rolling 12-month average of spot market prices. Based on current market prices, the rate is approximately $.04 cents per kWh. For more information about excess generation calculation, visit sdge.com/nem.
- How will I get compensated for my excess generation?
Your Excess Generation Payment will be applied to your account. SDG&E will apply this credit to any outstanding bill amount that you owe at the time of your true-up. You may call to request a refund check for any amount that’s left over or leave it on the account to apply towards future bills.
- Why is my Excess Generation Payment less than the credit shown on my NEM Summary?
The credit you see on your NEM statement is calculated using the full retail rate for energy. This retail value can only be used to offset charges for energy provided by SDG&E within your true-up period. However, at true up, any remaining excess generation will be purchased by SDG&E at the wholesale rate.
- When will I notice a change in consumption on my SDG&E bill? My consumption isn’t dropping as much as I thought it would. Why?
Because there are so many variables involved, it’s not possible to accurately predict changes in consumption due to net metering. The size of your system, the weather, and the energy demands of your household or business each has bearing on total consumption. Assuming your energy usage habits don’t change, your system is properly sized and functioning, and there’s sunny weather, you should notice a change in the first full month of billing on net metering.