Reverse metering is not yet common in the United States. If you own your own wind turbine, there may still be times when you need more electricity than it provides, in which case you will want to be hooked up to the power grid so you can buy electicity from the power company.

There may be other times when you produce more electricity than you need. Reverse metering would require the power company to buy this extra electricity at the same cost they charged when you bought it from them. In most cases this would permit them to create less pollution by making less use of other generating facilities.

Power companies object to reverse metering, and some of their claims may be worth considering in the interests of fairness, but at the very least reverse metering during periods of peak usage in places with peak usage power problems would be desirable. It would not require a major outlay, it could use the same metering equipment already in place.

The idea of allowing consumers that produce their own electricity to sell their overproduction seems reasonable. The concept that this should happen at the same price as the consumer purchase electricity seems lousy. The electricity company is providing the service of moving the electricity between various points, and delivering it in reasonable units to the consumer; this has a cost. Letting the consumer skip that cost and inject electricity at the same price seems quite unreasonable, effectively letting the consumer use the electricity network as a giant battery without paying for it.

I live in a country (Norway) that use electricity markets to control the generation of power (wholesale); a combination of spot and future markets. These deal in megawatts, for delivery on an hourly basis (the spot market is actually a future market for the present day). After paying network rent (which is a separate bill), I can get power whatever amount of power I need (normal delivery from a socket in the wall) for a few percent more than the spot rate for megawatt hours. These few percent represent the cost of fractionalizing megawatt hours to continous power availability, risk taken by providing averaged prices, cost of sending small bills instead of large bills, and profit to the company providing the services. The cost is kept low by strong competition.

If I had reverse metering at the same price as I pay for power, I could purchase power at the spot market rates, and push it back into the market at the fractionalized rates. This would give me a free ride to the electricity company's money - I could just purchase whatever amount of power I wanted to in the spot market, and sell it back at a premium to the power company.

As long as you want the power company to both buy and sell power to the consumers, you are asking to have them be a market maker. Market makers traditionally earn their money using spreads - difference between purchase and sales price. In a competitive environment (and suitable regulation can make utilities competitive) the spread will generally be quite small. It may be reasonable to regulate that utilities are supposed to buy power from the consumers in preference to in the open market or producing it themselves, but it is not reasonable to require that they do it at a worse price.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.