April 14, 2010 - Program Update

May 28, 2010:

The OPA has received a response from Measurement Canada to its proposal to address in-series connection configurations. The OPA is now working with the Ontario Energy Board to implement a solution for in-series connections.

May 19, 2010 update:

On May 19, 2010, Ontario Energy Board sent a letter to local distribution companies instructing them to stop in-series connections for FIT and microFIT projects because Measurement Canada will not recognize or support the in-series metering configuration.

As a result, in-series connections are no longer permitted under the FIT and microFIT Programs. FIT contract holders and applicants and microFIT applicants therefore must pursue other permitted options – in parallel and direct – for connecting their projects to the distribution system.

If you have already connected your contract facility using an in-series connection, stay tuned for further communication on this issue. The OPA is continuing to work with Measurement Canada to find a solution for existing in-series connections.

The OPA will agree to any contract termination request from FIT suppliers who determine that their project is not feasible or economic with an alternative connection scenario. The OPA will also agree to return any completion and performance security for contracts terminated under this circumstance.

May 19, 2010, letter from Ontario Energy Board to local distribution companies

Background

All FIT Program generators must have separate meters (with the exception of incremental facilities, which will have the same meter). Metering must meet local distribution company or Independent Electricity System Operator requirements and provide hourly data.

Any additional metering functionality or requirements, including those established by the local distribution company or the Independent Electricity System Operator, are the sole responsibility of the generator.

In March 2010, the OPA received an email from Measurement Canada notifying the OPA that the microFIT Program may be using an inappropriate metering configuration. While Measurement Canada referred to the microFIT Program, the same concern applied to the FIT Program.

Measurement Canada is responsible for ensuring the integrity and accuracy of measurement in the Canadian marketplace. It:

  • develops and administers the laws and requirements governing measurement
     
  • evaluates, approves and certifies measuring devices
     
  • investigates complaints of suspected inaccurate measurement.

Any person who installs a meter for "the purpose of obtaining the basis of a charge for electricity supplied by or to him" must comply with regulations and standards set by Measurement Canada.

Measurement Canada stated in its email to the OPA that it "will not recognize or support" the in-series metering configuration defined by Figure 2(b) of the microFIT Rules. This is primarily because there could be an unacceptable level of error that results when two meters are used to measure electricity consumed by a load customer.

The OPA's rationale for including in-series connections in the FIT and microFIT Programs was based on stakeholder feedback indicating that in-series connections are often preferred by generators. Stakeholders noted that parallel and direct connections are often cost-prohibitive and/or impractical.

Given the prior use of this metering configuration, the OPA did not foresee an issue with in-series connections for microFIT and FIT projects. In-series connections are commonly used in other jurisdictions. The OPA recognizes that this ruling could be an inconvenience for FIT and microFIT proponents and will continue to work with Measurement Canada to resolve this issue.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please call 1-888-387-3403.

The OPA will post updates on this issue as new information becomes available.