BIPCo holding steady as fuel costs rise

“This topic is so complicated that most people don’t understand it enough to comment on it,” said resident and ratepayer David Lewis at the meeting of the Block Island Utility District on July 28.Lewis was speaking about net-metering, the mechanism by which ratepayers that generate solar power get credited for their excess production, but he could have been referring to any one of several topics related to the powering of an island.Complicating the issue is another confusing term: avoided cost. As more and more people wish to add solar arrays to their homes, developing a policy to compensate them without putting the company and other ratepayers at risk is tricky.The state of Rhode Island has a law that limits the amount of production by solar installations at three percent of the “peak” amount of energy the power company needs to deliver. For the Block Island Power Company, that peak is reached in the summer, typically on a day when there is excessive heat. So far, the peak this year was reached on July 22 with a load of 4.92 megawatts.For Block Island, that three percent was reached a few years ago and there was a moratorium on people

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