Honduras moves forward in the regulation of energy self-producers

By: Fernando López y Janine Paz

As of September of this year, the State of Honduras has approved specific regulations on self-generation of energy, allowing residential and commercial users to inject surplus energy produced into the distribution system. The CREE as the national regulator of the energy sector has identified the need to develop a proposal for a Technical Standard to regulate the activities related to Residential and Commercial Self-producing Users and thus strengthen the regulatory framework of the electricity sub-sector proceeding to submit for public consultation and subsequent approval and publication in the TECHNICAL STANDARD FOR RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL SELF-PRODUCING USERS (Technical Standard CREE-25-2022) approved by the Electricity Regulatory Commission (CREE), through Agreement CREE-25-2022 and published in the official gazette La Gaceta on August 31, 2022.

It is important to point out the background of this new regulation: the General Law of the Electricity Industry (LGIE) establishes in literal D, of article 15, that Distribution Companies are obliged to purchase the excess energy coming from renewable energy sources generated by residential and commercial Users that inject back to the grid. Likewise, it indicates that regulations must be established regarding the measurement and monthly liquidation of electric energy coming from these Users. In addition, Article 47 of the LGIE Regulation establishes that Autoproducer Users are those Users that have electric energy generation equipment within their own domicile or facilities capable of operating in parallel with the grid and comply with the requirements established in said article.

The aforementioned article of the LGIE Regulation establishes that Distribution Companies may limit the connection of Autoproducer Users so as not to overload feeders or circuits and transformers, or cause Quality of Service problems. Technical Norm CREE-25-2022 seeks to regulate and establish technical limitations for the referred modality of self-generation.

Article 1 of the Technical Norm CREE-25-2022 establishes that the purpose of the referred norm is to regulate the procedures, requirements and responsibilities applicable to the connection, operation and control of electric generation equipment that take advantage of renewable resources, located within the internal facilities of a residential or commercial User of the Distribution Company, which has generation equipment with the purpose of supplying its demand and that could inject to the electric distribution network the excess energy generated, equal or less than 1 MW to supply its own demand, and receive a remuneration in exchange from the distribution company. Technical Norm CREE-25-2022 establishes that the remuneration will be applied in the form of credits in the electric energy supply bill.

Likewise, the approval of the referred Norm will surely encourage the installation of generation equipment by residential and commercial users, which brings a positive economic and social consequence, considering that the consumer, who has usually been conceived as a passive actor within the energy scheme, will now have the possibility of becoming an active agent, allowing the generation of energy and delivering its surpluses to the distribution network.