Borough Of Pemberton Hearthstone Pemberton Boro Solar Energy Pemboro

Solar  Code Compliance  Open Letter 11/8/13   Proposed Ordinance  Open Letter 1/11/2014

January 27, 2014

An open letter to the Pemberton Borough, NJ Council

Electric Bill: The borough practice requiring bill payment within days of its receipt is unreasonable. To apply a late fee on top of that is reprehensible. I received my January Electric bill on the 9th. It was to be paid on the 15th. That is 4 business days later. My bill is paid on the first business day after the 20th of each month. I have no intention of changing that date. Last year, my lack of payment of the electric bill on the 15th resulted in my home being published on the tax sale. There was no prior notification. Many Borough Residents I know receive a monthly late notice. How much of our tax money do you waste each month on notices which are totally unnecessary. An analysis of your practices is long past due. Don’t expect any fees or interest on fees for late payment to be paid by me any time soon. List me again for a tax sale. Take me to court, but change your ordinance.

Solar Panels: The Pemberton Borough Electric Department is failing to comply with the Electric Code which states that the Borough Electric Department will purchase excess electricity generated by the Solar Panels in place on my home and on the home of Ina Cabanas. I have been forced to decommission my Electric Generator because of the town’s undocumented and inappropriate interconnection policy.

Mrs. Cabanas has an electric meter installed in parallel with the normal electric meter. That meter removes all the energy produced by her Solar panels. She gets to use none of the electricity she generates. The Borough is not buying EXCESS energy, it is buying ALL the energy at a fraction of the production cost.

On my home, the Borough electrician specified that the output meter be wired in series with the normal electric meter. The Borough records and purchases ALL the electricity produced by my panels at 50¢ on the dollar. I do get to use some of the energy the Borough purchased and they don’t charge me for it. However, the Borough charges me 22¢ for every kWh I don’t use at that time and send to the grid. The result is that my electric bill is in excess of 1¾ times higher than it would be with no solar panels. Because of the inappropriate Electric Code, my generator has was decommissioned in October.

The Electric Code has no standard in place for the meter connection. The operating program for the meter is not defined. The Borough Code defines prohibited meters. The Borough Electric Department does not conform to the Code currently in place.

Last fall I submitted a recommendation for a change to the code. In the back room meeting, the Mayor determined that they would not address that recommendation. The issues with the Code were detailed. There was no public acknowledgment of the document. Everything submitted to the Borough council has been ignored. This is inconsistent with the policy of open government.

It is time for a free and open discussion in the presence of the public. The Council must provide a rationale for the decisions being made and they must be documented in the public record.

The term EXCESS energy as currently used in the Code is undefined. At the time the Solar Panels were installed, it was understood to carry the meaning used in the Solar Industry: The difference between energy sent to the grid and taken from the grid where the energy sent to the grid is greater. The code does specify that “reversing meters” are not permitted but they do not specify how they will measure the EXCESS except that a separate meter will be used.

The council must amend the code to accommodate both previously installed systems which were contracted assuming the generally understood meaning of the term EXCESS energy. The Borough must specify the interconnection. The Borough must specify the period over which the readings will be taken: monthly, quarterly, annually. The Borough must purchase any EXCESS energy at the agreed upon rates. Changes to the code will not mitigate the Borough’s prior liability.

Respectfully submitted

Bruce T. Buzalski
39 Simpkins Lane, Pemberton, NJ