Admits they take ALL the Solar
Bruce Buzalski Feb 20, 2014
more than 18 months of hassle and no
response, the Borough of Pemberton
has finally come clean. Last
night they approved a modification
to their ordinance (2014-1) for
Solar Panels that states the the
Borough will take ALL the energy
produced not EXCESS. That is a
change from their previous official
position. It does however
codify their actual practice.
Whether that is legal or not is up
for grabs. I plan to pursue it
with the BPU, Legislature and Office
of Community Affairs. What is
equally disturbing about the
Boroughs position is that they are
taking the profit from the Electric
Department and transferring it to
the the General Fund. In this
way they are taxing non-profits as
well as individuals.
There isNo Need
for the Borough to Respond
Buzalski Feb 17, 2014
I have pointed out to the Borough
that they do not meet their own
code, there is no requirement that
they respond to or act on the
information provided. So
although they have been told that
regardless of how they wire their
existing meters, they can not comply
with their code, they have failed to
respond verbally or in writing.
Their latest trick is to propose a
modification to the Code (Ordinance
2014-1) which eliminates the word
EXCESS from the description.
They are therefore purchasing energy
delivered to the grid knowing full
well that if they connect their
meter in parallel with the
residential meter, they take all the
energy produced leaving none for the
resident who installed the system to
save money. Further, the price
they propose in Ordinance 2014-1 is
25¢ on the dollar. The cost of
the solar energy is the cost of the
system over it's life divided by the
expected energy delivery.
Changing the Code after the fact has
no impact on either of the two
systems installed and approved by
the borough prior to that change.
Pemberton Borough Council is
deathly afraid of Solar
Installations. They fear the
loss of income due to a reduction in
demand for their very expensive
has become dependent on the excess
income they get from this source.
To protect their cash cow they have
created a detailed
Code restricting how the Solar
Systems may be connected to their
Grid. They have also invested
heavily in a contract with the
operators that is fairly
Their primary line of attack is that
they refuse to allow "Reversing
Meters". They do not
specifically reference Net meters in
the Code, although I suppose that
you could possibly consider it as
running backwards. In fact it
reads the energy flowing in each
direction and digitally takes the
difference between the two numbers.
The Borough Fathers want you to use
the energy that you produce while
you produce it. Any
EXCESS goes into the grid
and the Borough buys it from you at
a wholesale rate. That rate is
less than half what you would pay
for it when you purchase it from
them and less than half what it
costs you to generate it.
When the sun isn't shining you are
purchasing your energy from the
Borough at their inflated rates.
In fact you are paying for that
energy twice. First when you
make it and the Borough takes it and
second when you buy that energy back
from them when the "Sun Don't
The hooker in this deal is that the
Borough wants you to install a
separate utility grade meter that
measures the energy you send to
their system. This meter is
installed by their electrician and
is in parallel with the normal
incoming Utility meter. The
meter then provides the lowest
impedence for the generated energy
to travel and it sucks off
everything the Solar System
produces. This is not
clearly states that they will
It clearly restricts the use of
"REVERSING" meters and states that
they will install a utility grade
meter at the consumers expense..
experience with the Borough has been
horrific. My predecessor was
forced to sign a lengthy agreement
that was totally unfair. She
too is sending all her energy to the
Borough and has been for over 7
you apply for a license for the
installation, you must deposit $3500
with the Borough. From this
they will deduct any expenses that
they feel are your responsibility.
Second, at the
time you apply, you are not
presented with the agreement that
you will be obligated to sign.
They wait until the system is
completely installed and then, in
the mail, after all the inspections
are complete, you recieve the
contract which you must sign before
they will connect you to the grid.
I refused to sign it.
you negotiate a contract that you
are somewhat comfortable with, they
connect their meter to your system
and suck all your power away.
Your bill actually goes up because
the transformers are using a hefty
chunk of energy and there are times
when that power is taken from the
My system has
been installed on July 17th, 2012.
It wasn't until October of 2013 that
I finally had a full understanding
of how the system is operating and
what their meter is doing. The
system was turned off.
At their next
monthly meeting, the council will be
presented with a legal brief
describing this position and giving
them an opportunity to present
arguments in their defense.
will be presented with the
opportunity to submit a plan that
provides a remedy
to this situation and actually
measures the "EXCESS" energy as they
didn't define it in the Code.
"EXCESS" is definitely not equal to
If, in a
reasonable amount of time, they have
no remedy, then they must start
reading both meters, IN and OUT,
take the mathematical difference to
determine what is "EXCESS" and bill
accordingly. They have the
option to do this annually if they
that are open to them are to use a
NET meter, or the two utility
meters. There is no way that
they can determine the
their view without more
instrumentation. The system
installed is able to compute this by
taking readings every minute and
integrating those values over time.
They would have to instrument the
input and output in a similar manor
and perform the math. There
are no utility meters available that
do that and it would be too costly
for them to develop one.
The path of
least resistance for them would be
to remove the clause in the contract
which states that the system is not
eligible for a net meter. That
content is in the contract, not in
the Code. It is a simple
matter to revise that paragraph.
following page, I've included
some graphs and description of what
a solar system looks like when
installed. There are also some
excellent pictures of it in the
Burlington County Times.
Ignore the man behind the curtain.
At this point,
I am very optimistic that the
Borough will see the error and will
of their own volition find a remedy.
If not, I will have to push harder,
which I will do, even though it may