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Net Metering

Net Metering is a program whereby eligible customers with renewable generation facilities can reduce their net energy costs by generating their own energy behind-the-meter. During periods of time when the generation output exceeds customer load, the surplus energy can be exported back onto the distribution system for a credit against future energy consumption. Excess generation credits are shown and tracked on your monthly hydro bill and can be carried forward for up to 12 months. Northern Ontario Wires Inc. cannot pay customers for any excess generation.

For details, see       Ontario Regulation 541/05: NET METERING.

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How It Works

Net metering is a system that allows homeowners and businesses with solar panels or other renewable energy sources to generate their own electricity and feed any excess back into the grid. Here’s how it works:

1. Electricity Generation

Solar panels (or other renewable energy systems) installed on a property generate electricity. This electricity is first used to power the home or business.

2. Excess Energy

If the solar panels generate more electricity than the property needs, the excess energy is sent back to the electric grid.

3. Bi-Directional Meter

A special bi-directional meter is installed, which can measure both the electricity consumed from the grid and the electricity sent back to the grid. When the solar panels produce excess electricity, the meter runs backwards, effectively crediting the property owner for the energy supplied to the grid.

4. Utility Credits

The energy fed back to the grid earns credits, which can be used to offset the electricity consumed from the grid when the solar panels aren’t producing enough energy (e.g., at night or during cloudy days).

5. Billing

At the end of the billing period, the utility company calculates the net usage. If the property generated more electricity than it consumed, the surplus may roll over to the next billing cycle, depending on the local net metering policies. If more electricity was consumed than generated, the property owner pays the difference.

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Resources

Interested in knowing more about Net Metering? Please see the available resources below.

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Ontario Regulation 541/05: Net Metering

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Use the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) website to find a licensed contractor for the job.

  • What is the Green Button initiative?
    The Green Button initiative is a data standard that provides energy customers with more choice on how they can access their electricity and natural gas data. With a simple and secure process, customers will be able to securely download or connect (share) their energy usage data in an industry-standard format with registered third parties.
  • Why is Green Button data being implemented in Ontario?
    Ontario is providing families and businesses more control over their electricity and natural gas bills with the introduction of the new Green Button Standard that will allow access to their data with the goal of better tracking energy use, reducing bills, and saving money. On November 1, 2021, the Ontario Ministry of Energy announced that electric and natural gas utilities across the province must provide their customers with access to Green Button data no later than November 1, 2023. Read the full news release.
  • What are the benefits of Green Button data for consumers?
    Green Button data provides a unified, industry-standard data format, which can be used to analyse and manage a consumer’s energy usage. The introduction of Green Button industry-standard data across Ontario utilities will provide the foundation for the development of new tools and applications for customers to analyse and monitor their energy usage to reduce costs. Below are just a few of the benefits of Green Button data: Improve energy efficiency – Consumers can use Green Button data to identify and compare their energy usage in order to improve energy efficiency within their home or business. Reduce energy costs – By learning their usage patterns and habits, consumers can make informed choices about how much energy they use and when they use it. When consumers use energy during off-peak hours (also known as peak-shaving) and invest in energy-efficient appliances, it saves money and can help reduce strain on the grid. Energy conservation – Consumers can use their data to conserve energy to help reduce their carbon footprint and protect the environment. Green Button tools to understand large volumes of energy data will help pave the way for future innovations in the energy sector. Green Button Data for Residential Customers: Many customers are already viewing their energy data through a customer portal on their utility website. With Green Button data, third party apps can analyze the data and provide insights to help customers make sense of their energy use and make informed decisions to help reduce costs. With CMD, data is shared on an ongoing basis. This allows third parties to provide insights and alerts on usage trends and changes. Green Button Data for Businesses: For customers with a large number of properties across multiple utilities, Green Button data provides a standardized format so that the data they receive from each utility is in a similar format. Green Button third parties in the commercial sector are able to analyse large volumes of data across multiple facilities to provide energy management advice. With CMD, data is shared on an ongoing basis. This allows third parties to provide insights and alerts on usage trends and changes including monitoring the impact of energy efficiency measures taken. Green Button data will also make it easier for facilities to complete mandatory government reporting requirements.
  • What is Green Button Download My Data (DMD)?
    The Green Button Download My Data (DMD) standard allows consumers to select and download their electricity usage data from their energy provider’s website in an industry-standard XML format, consistent across all energy-provider websites.
  • How does Green Button data benefit energy consumers?
    Improve energy efficiency – Consumers can use Green Button data to identify and compare their energy usage to improve energy efficiency within their home or business. Reduce energy costs – By learning their usage patterns and habits, consumers can make informed choices about how much energy they use and when they use it. When consumers use energy during off-peak hours (also known as peak-shaving) and invest in energy-efficient appliances, it saves money and can help reduce strain on the grid. Energy conservation – consumers can use their data to conserve energy to help reduce their carbon footprint and protect the environment. Secure access – with Green Button standards, consumers can rest assured that their data and private information is secure. Utilities must go through a strict testing and certification process to become Green Button standard compliant.
  • How do I Download My Data?
    You can download your Green Button data in one of the following two ways: Option 1 - From the Northern Ontario Wires Inc. website: You can login to the Green Button Portal directly here - Green Button Portal Enter your required account information to validate that you are the account owner (Note: You will need to have a recent bill handy) Select the Download My Data tab Follow the prompts to select the data you would like to download Click Download An XML file containing your selected data will download This file can be shared with a third party or uploaded to a Green Button app to view. Option 2 - From MyAccount: Log in through your NOW Inc. Customer Portal - MyAccount Click on the Green Button logo on the main landing page Select the Download My Data tab Follow the prompts to select the data you would like to download Click Download An XML file containing your selected data will download This file can be shared with a third party or uploaded to a Green Button app to view.
  • What format will my data be downloaded in?
    When you download your data, it will be in an industry-standard XML format. Pease note that XML files are designed to be read and analyzed by computer applications, not humans. If you wish to save this file, it can be saved as a Notepad document.
  • Once I have downloaded my data, what can I do with it?
    When you download your data, you may choose to send it to a third-party vendor yourself or upload it to an application to be analyzed. As Green Button data becomes widely available across Ontario, more third-party solutions and applications will be developed and made available to analyze the data.
  • What is Green Button Connect My Data (CMD)?
    The Green Button Connect My Data (CMD) standard, also referred to as Data Shares at NOW Inc., is the industry standard for securely authorizing and sharing electricity usage data with registered third-party vendors. With CMD, utility consumers can digitally authorize their usage data to be shared with energy-efficiency applications, clean energy companies, analytics firms, and others, who can view and analyze the data and provide insights into managing and conserving resource consumption. Example 1: If you are considering installing or have installed solar panels on your home or business, you can connect the solar company to your Green Button usage data to analyze the return on your solar panel investment and make informed decisions about future investments. Example 2: Commercial or industrial customers with multiple locations across different utility territories can access and analyze energy usage data from all sites in a consistently standardized format.
  • Who can connect (share) their data?
    Any active NOW Inc. customer can use Connect My Data to authorize third-party data sharing.
  • Can I still use Connect My Data if I don’t have a NOW Inc. MyAccount?
    Yes, while it is highly encouraged that customers create a MyAccount login, you can still Connect My Data from authorized third-party vendor websites and using a one-time access sign in to the Green Button portal.
  • How do I Connect My Data?
    Sharing your data starts on the third-party vendor’s website. Go to the authorized third-party vendor’s Green Button registration web page Complete the third-party vendor data-sharing authorization request form You will be redirected to NOW Inc.’s Green Button portal to authenticate, verify the data sharing information, review the terms and conditions, and authorize data sharing. NOW Inc. will then exchange a security token with the authorized third-party vendor which will allow secure, automated data sharing
  • What third-party vendors can I share my data with?
    Data can be shared with authorized third-party vendors that have registered with and been authorized by NOW Inc. to use Connect My Data.
  • What data is shared with the authorized third-party vendor(s)?
    When authorizing a third-party vendor to access your data, you will select the type of data you want to share with them and for which account (if you have multiple accounts). You can select your Energy Usage Data, Billing Data and/or Account Information to be shared. Your utility provider will share the type of data you have selected and authorized for that account. Usage Data Historical usages up to a maximum of 2 years and/or ongoing meter readings of your meters, which may include hourly interval, demand, net metering (if applicable) readings. Energy usage data includes: Historical usages up to a maximum of 2 years and/or ongoing meter readings of your meters Hourly interval data Net metering data Account Information Your name, address(es), meter number(s), contact information and other personally identifiable information stored by the Utility. Account Information includes: Customer name Service address Mailing address Account number Meter number Utility Bill Data Billing periods and individual charges, adjustments and credit line items from your utility bill. Billing data includes: Billing periods Energy charges and adjustments
  • How long will my data be shared with an authorized third-party vendor?
    When authorizing a third-party vendor to access your data, you select the duration and frequency that you would like to share your data for.
  • Can I stop sharing my data with a third-party vendor?
    Yes, you can stop sharing your data with a third-party vendor at any time. To do so, simply go to the Data Shares tab within the Green Button portal, select the vendor you would like to stop sharing your data with, and click Revoke.
  • How do I know my data is secure?
    NOW Inc. has been certified by the Green Button Alliance™. This is the industry standard to ensure compliance with data sharing and security standards. Before you authorize a third-party vendor, be sure to carefully read the terms and conditions on their website so that you understand how they will use, share, or retain your data.
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