Regarding the Feb. 11 Close to Home commentary "Going Solar Isn't Easy in the District": Pepco has long supported development of renewable electricity generation and was instrumental in the creation of the District's Renewable Energy Demonstration Project, which awarded one of the article's authors, Michael Cummings, $11,500 to defray the cost of installing his rooftop solar photovoltaic system.
Pepco has worked closely with the D.C. Public Service Commission and other stakeholders over the past two years to develop the appropriate safety and technical requirements and a standardized contract for any consumer to interconnect to the electrical grid and allow customers to sell solar power to Pepco. This rulemaking process became final on Feb. 9, two days before the Close to Home article ran.
With the completion of this necessary regulatory process, consumers can be assured that the new requirements provide for two-way grid connections that are safe for customers and linemen.
Pepco Holdings Inc.
As the District's utility regulator, the Public Service Commission has undertaken several initiatives to promote alternatives to fossil fuels used to make electricity.
One of these, known as "net metering," allows customers who generate their own electricity from renewable sources, such as solar energy, to sell surplus power to the grid.
The District "has some of the best policies in the country for consumers to sell electricity back," according to Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association. As of this month, customers who generate power can sign a standard contract with Pepco to simplify net metering arrangements.
Achieving our customer-friendly standard contract took some time, because public comment is required at every step, and two successive Pepco submissions included provisions that would have discouraged net metering.
The commission was nevertheless accused by Michael Cummings and George Sterzinger of "dragging our feet" and "thwarting" net metering.
While we understand citizen frustration with the time required to approve the standard contract, had we not questioned Pepco's initial proposals, many District customers would have been effectively precluded from net metering.
AGNES A. YATES
RICHARD E. MORGAN
The writers are chair and commissioner, respectively, of the D.C. Public Service Commission.