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Belco ordered to pay back solar users

Solar panels on the roof of the Rubis Warwick Gas Station (file Photograph)

Belco has been ordered to pay for all energy put into its system by those with solar panels.

The Regulatory Authority said that those who have been putting electricity into the energy grid without being reimbursed will receive backdated payments.

A spokeswoman said the order requires Belco to enter into purchase agreements with all energy generators that meet the requirements.

The company must also compensate them for any electricity supplied to Belco within 30 days of the parties signing a standard contract.

A spokeswoman said: “Until now, some consumers who feed-in their excess power from distributed generation to Belco’s grid have not yet been paid.

“Payment requires a standard contract between Belco and the distributed generator. Belco said its interpretation of the law was that it was not allowed to enter into a standard contract with customers until after Bermuda’s electricity plan, the Integrated Resource Plan or ‘IRP’, was in place.”

The spokeswoman added that amendments to the Electricity Act 2016 came into effect on July 30 to allow parties to enter a contract with Belco before the IRP comes into effect.

She said: “This means that all distributed generation producers can be legally connected to the grid and receive payment for their electricity provided to Belco.

“Households with solar power generators who have been feeding electricity to Belco without compensation, will also receive backdated payment for any energy they have provided to the grid in the past.”

The standard contract applies to all renewable energy generators, although the spokeswoman said 99 per cent of such systems in Bermuda are solar.

She added: “Some distributed generation providers do already receive payment for their energy feed-in, as they were party to Belco’s Small Scale Renewable Generator Interconnection Agreement, to which Belco has since stopped accepting new entrants.”

Belco has also been ordered to transition anyone signed up to the legacy agreement to the new standard contract within 45 days.