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EIA Form-826 and EIA Form-861 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)           

EIA Form-826 and EIA Form-861 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Advanced Metering

Demand Side Management (DSM)


Green Pricing Programs

Net Metering

Advanced Metering FAQs

Regarding AMR meters, does the DOE only want the company to provide a count of those meters that transmit data one-way AND are read via drive-by vans? What if a meter reader walks by using a hand held reader?

Meters queried via hand held readers would be included in the count.

If a utility has deployed AMI meters for data collection and billing purposes but does not provide that data to the customer should the AMI meter be counted?

The instructions for the EIA Form-861 state that AMI meters measure and record usage at least hourly and provide usage data to provide the customer and the energy company at least daily. So if the data is not provided to the customer daily the meter would be counted as AMR versus AMI.

What constitutes an AMI or AMR meter?

If the customer has an advanced meter and:

There is built in two-way communication capable of recording and transmitting instantaneous data (measured and recorded usage data at minimum, in hourly intervals, provided to both consumers and energy companies at least once daily), you should classify this as AMI

The meter collects data for billing purposes only and transmits this data one way, usually from the customer to the distribution utility, OR the meter data is being pinged to a drive-by van temporarily until the advanced metering infrastructure is set up, you should classify this as AMR.

A meter reader is still manually reading the meter on the consumer's property, you should not classify this as an advanced meter until such time as the meters are activated and a utility employee is no longer manually reading the meter.

We do not have monthly AMI counts available; do we have to provide monthly AMI counts?

You need to provide the data and you need to use your best available data to provide a reasonable estimate. Until you are collecting data on AMI meters monthly, you should use your EIA Form-861 data to provide a reasonable estimate.


This year all electric utilities are being asked to complete the "Actual Annual Effects" portion of the schedule for efficiency programs dating back to 1992. In the past most Iowa municipal utilities did not have to complete this part of the report because their sales fell below 150,000 MWh. While many of Iowa's municipal utilities have had DSM programs dating back to 1992, they have only tracked the annualized incremental effects of their programs. Their records may not allow any accurate estimation of the actual annual effects of programs prior to 2010. How do you advise completing the actual annual effects of schedule?

The utilities are required to use their best available data to estimate the DSM activity for 2010 only. They are not required to report DSM results for prior years. Should they have programs that began in prior years and they have incremental effects for those programs as well as the life cycle of those programs, and any data relative to attrition rates on those programs; they can use that data to estimate the annual effect in 2010 of those programs that began in a prior year and is still ongoing in 2010. For example if they had a light bulb program, they can use the average life of a light bulb based on lab studies to estimate the number of years they can take credit for that program. Currently, we are not require a DSM program to provide EM&V results. Many utilities provide conservative estimates of their DSM activity.

General FAQs

What are ownership codes and what do they mean?

Ownership codes are related to a category of respondent, and are used to analyze the data.

Ownership codes
A Municipal Marketing Authority
C Coop
F Federal
M Municipal 
P Political Subdivision
R Retail Power Marketer
S State
T Transmission
W Wholesale Power Marketer

Green Pricing FAQs

What do you want us to report here?

Schedule 3A is for the reporting of voluntary retail green pricing programs and you should not report green REC wholesale purchases to meet state mandated RPS requirements. In addition, if you have a green pricing program but no participation in the reporting year you should report zero, but if you do not have a retail green pricing program, then you would leave the cells blank.

If a customer purchases a portion of their usage in green tags what should I report on line 1 and 2, the amount of green tags or the amount of customer usage?

If, for the month, a green pricing customer buys 1000 kwhs of energy for $.08/ kwh and also buys 500 kwhs of green attributes for $02/kwh, line one would report as $.005 (in thousands of dollars) and line 2 would report as 0.5 mwhs.

500 kwhs*(.08+.02)/1000=$.005 for line 1
500 kwhs/1000 = .5 mwhs for line 2

Can we just provide the revenue for green attributes on line 1?

No you need to provide a reasonable estimate of the cost of energy plus green attribute based on the best data you have available.

Our customers voluntarily contribute a fixed dollar amount that is added to their bill every month to support community based renewable projects, as opposed to paying to receive green power. Can we report that to you in Schedule 3A Green Pricing?

Schedule 3A is set up to record the revenue ($000s) contributed voluntarily by customers who purchase either green power generated from a renewable resource (MWh) and/or the Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) associated with that generation. If your customers purchase neither the green power nor the RECs, but rather choose to participate in a voluntary program to raise funds for a community based renewable project, you do not need to report the revenue and customer count associated with this program to us in Schedule 3A. You can decide, however, to voluntarily report this information to us in the Comments section of the Error Log in the IDC system.

Net Metering FAQs

We do not have the amount of generation the net metered customer generated and used, we only know the amount of generation that is credited back to the customer; can we provide only the amount of generation that is credited back to the customer?

Yes we just need the credit for energy provided to the grid by the net metered customer not the amount of energy that the customer generated and used for their internal needs.

What do you mean by on Line 1 "electricity sold back to the utility?"

If your net metered customers are hourly metered and some of the hours of the month show net credits for energy provided back to the grid, then you would sum the kilowatt-hours amounts for those hours and report them on the first line as energy sold back to the grid, and would do so whether or not the customer received a net amount due on their bill for the month. The kilowatt-hours amount would be divided by 1,000 to report the amounts as megawatt hours. Thus, anytime a meter reads more energy generated than the customer needs, it is considered excess energy. On Line 1, we are trying to collect data relative to the extra generation, not the compensation for that generation.

For net metering applications, does your form ask for how much energy was sold back into the market if it was available? We measure in-flow and out-flow and report it to the market operator. A customer can elect to ignore his out-flow and not sell it into the market or a customer can sell it. We do not collect data concerning whether or not a customer has sold it. Since we do not have this information available, is it correct to assume that we do not report it?

If you are able to supply the amount of energy that is out-flow, that would be great. If you cannot, that is also fine. By the definition of net metering, if a customer has out-flow, he is getting a credit for that energy. We understand that some utilities do not have this capability; this is why the question was set up as "if available." The most important parts of the schedule are the questions on capacity and customer count by technology and sector.

(Technical note on above question: This question is from a Texas utility and in Texas they do not have a net metering tariff arrangement but require the distributed generator to cut a one off deal with their energy provider to recover compensation from delivering energy to the grid.)

How do I report the total installed net metering capacity?

For net metering applications of 2 MW nameplate capacity or less, report the cumulative total of installed net metering capacity by energy source in the given month. For example, if you had 100 kw of installed net metering capacity for solar in January and added an additional 50 kw of installed net metering capacity for solar in February, you would report 0.15 MW = 150 kw (100 kw + 50 kw) of installed net metering capacity for solar during the February data collection.

Please explain the differences between net metering and distributed generation, and also when to report on the 860 and the 861? Specifically Schedule 7 is stated to be for generation less than 1000 kw "installed at or near a customer's site". It further states "Residential applications should not be reported". We have interpreted "at or near a customer's site" to mean the generation is located "behind the customer meter", i.e. integrated with a customer load. This would include non-residential generation that is part of our "net metering" program and other generations that is too large to qualify for net metering tariff, but nonetheless is behind a customer meter. This is distinct from generation (<1000 kw) that is tied directly into the distribution system, i.e. a small merchant generator that delivers power directly to the wholesale market (as opposed to delivering a portion to the host retail customer). We do not include these types of merchant generation on Schedule 7; even though they are less than 1000 KW and some would argue they are "distributed generation". Is this correct? Do you want net metered generation that is reported on the Form 826 Schedule 3 Part B also reported on the 861 Schedule 7?

The first delineation is that using a commercial or industrial facility (meaning an address or premise); add up all the generation at that facility. If the total sum of all generation capacity is >1000KW report it on the 860, if not report it on the 861 Schedule 7. The only exception is for net metered generation which is reported up to 2MWs on the 861, and the net metered generation would also include residential net metered facilities.

Next there can be an overlap of net metered generation that is also distributed generation, and some distributed generation will not be net metered. The 826 and the 861 will both be collecting net metered generation. If there is generation that is not net metered and/or is also not providing "behind the meter generation" for a customer load, it should be included in the distributed generation numbers, if it is synchronized to the grid, otherwise it should be reported as dispersed generation if it used independently of grid connection.

If a single customer has both Wind and Solar technology, should this be considered as two customers?

Yes. We would count the two generating types at one customer’s site as two customers.