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LES discussing service regulations, rate opportunities, solar options at public meeting

LINCOLN — Lincoln Electric System invites customers to discuss updates to the LES service regulations, proposed new rate opportunities and new virtual net metering options at its next public meeting 6-7 p.m. May 31, 2018, at the Walter A. Canney Service Center (2620 Fairfield St.).

LES will review modifications to its service regulations, the rules for acquiring service from LES and governing customer and staff interactions. The regulations are the rights and responsibilities of the utility as well as those for customers and contractors receiving, changing and maintaining service from LES. This year’s proposed changes include: unauthorized grid-connected, customer-owned generation; vacant meter sockets; residential overhead-to-underground conversions, and the different responsibilities of customers and LES; descriptions of certain meter fees; transmission corridor restrictions; and Miscellaneous Accounts Receivable. The changes will be up for approval at LES’ June 15, 2018, board meeting.

Four new proposed commercial rates or rate riders are on the meeting agenda as well. Two are aimed at bringing new businesses to Lincoln or expanding existing businesses. The Market Energy Rate would attract very large customers, including big businesses in the process of choosing sites for new facilities, while the Economic Development Rider incentivizes new and existing customers adding commercial or industrial load with a discount credit on capacity charges for up to five years.

The other two, the Interruptible Service Rider and Curtailment Rider, reward customers for reducing their load. Customers of the former rider would agree to have their power interrupted up to 20 times per year (with at least 30 minutes' notice) for no longer than four hours in exchange for a monthly credit on their bill. The latter is a conversion of LES’ current Power Purchase Program, and it asks customers to voluntarily curtail their load up to 10 times in the summer (with at least seven hours' notice) for no longer than four hours. In exchange, customers will receive a check at the end of the summer for the value of their curtailed demand.

Finally, new options in LES’ Virtual Net Metering program — part of its community solar project — will be detailed. The program has asked customers for a one-time, upfront payment to purchase “virtual” solar panels, representing the power produced by an actual solar panel at LES community solar facility. Now customers can purchase half panels and break up payments into 36 fixed, monthly installments.