Alternative EnergyPennsylvania, USA ---(METERING.COM)--- 07 July, 2006 – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission adopted net metering standards during June, stating that farmers will be reimbursed for electricity they produce at the full retail rate.

The standards are part of the state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act of 2004, which requires that by 2020 18 percent of electricity sold in Pennsylvania must be generated from alternative sources, such as biomass, wind and solar power.

Previously, the majority of farmers producing energy through means such as manure digesters were paid only 2 or 3 cents per kilowatt hour, in comparison to the market rate of about 8 cents.

In addition, farmers who generate more electricity than they use will be paid the difference, according to the release. Further the farmers will be able to put multiple meters on one account rather than paying for each individually.

The state Department of Agriculture has endorsed this change, seeing it as an incentive for more farmers to invest in manure digesters, Mike Pechart, policy director for state Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff said.

“We’re very happy”, he said as digesters can cost about $800,000 to build and, until now, it wasn’t profitable for farmers to do so. “It’s a win-win for agriculture,” he said.

In a dissenting statement, Commissioner Terrance J. Fitzpatrick argued against the net metering rules, saying they give undue subsidies and preferences to customers generating electricity. “The burden of paying for these policies will ultimately fall upon other customers during a period when rising fuel prices and more stringent environmental controls are already reversing a two-decade long trend of static electricity prices,” he wrote.