Your Direct Energy Frequently Asked Questions


A micro-generation customer owns a device that converts energy from one form into electrical energy. This could be any renewable energy, most often being solar in Alberta.                   


Did you know that Albertans are permitted to generate their own electricity from renewable or alternative energy sources for their property? You can be either a Small Micro-Generator or a Large Micro-Generator. Once you exceed 5,000 kW capacity or intend to earn revenue from the electric power generated, you are considered a commercial-sized generator.                 

There are tons of benefits to generating your own energy. Producing your own power will offset some of the energy your property needs to draw from the grid, resulting in a lower bill and more money in your pocket. Plus, by choosing to generate from a renewable source, your micro-generator will help protect the environment.

In Alberta, you can generate enough power to offset all, or a portion, of your annual energy usage.

Micro-generation systems like solar PV systems (less than 5,000 kW capacity and connected to an electric distribution system) produce electric energy for personal use. The energy produced must be less than the yearly consumption at the site.

Depending on how much you generate, you'll either be a small micro-generator (under 150 kW) or a large micro-generator (150 kW to 5,000 kW).

Note: Albertans who want to generate electricity to earn revenue and not for their own use are considered commercial generators and do not meet the micro-generator requirements. 

If you are a micro-generation customer and do not use all the energy produced in a billing cycle, you will receive a credit for any energy (measured in kWh) that you put onto the power grid.

Your credit will be dependent on the size of micro-generator you are. For example, a small micro-generator (up to 150 kW) will be credited at your retail energy rate. However, when your energy goes back into the grid, a large micro-generator (150 kW to 5,000 kW) will be credited at the average hourly Alberta Pool Price.

Alberta Electric System Operator determines the average hourly pool price.  View their website for more information.

Life changes, and your energy use may change with it. Your distribution company is responsible for working with you to determine the capacity of the micro-generator you can install today. Then, they can help you to consider future load additions. They may require evidence depending on the capacity increase requested. 

Contact ATCO Electric for further assistance.

Your distributor is responsible for connecting your micro-generation system. The connection process follows the rules set out in the Micro-Generation Regulation and the Alberta Utilities Commission's (AUC's) Rules Respecting Micro-Generation. While your distribution company needs to follow the AUC's process, there may be slight variations.

Your distributor will also be responsible for meter installation and meter data management service to ensure the amount of energy sent to the grid is accurately accounted for. Meter installation is generally done at the distributor's cost, with a few exceptions. If there is a disagreement in cost responsibility, you can file a complaint with the AUC.

You must notify your retailer (that's us!) that you are, or intend to be, a micro-generator.

You'll need to check ATCO Electric's application and connection process, as your municipality will likely require permits. ATCO Electric will also be responsible for helping you determine the capacity you need and installing the bi-directional meter when the time comes.

First, you must apply to your distribution company to connect your micro-generation unit. If you are a Direct Energy Regulated Services customer, you must reach ATCO Electric.

The size of your micro-generation unit cannot be larger than your site's historical consumption, meaning that you cannot generate more power than what you used the previous year. You can generate only enough to offset the amount used. After this, you are generating revenue and are considered a commercial generator.

Your distribution company will have guidelines explaining your responsibilities, including applying for permits from your municipality.

Review this handy guide from the AUC, which includes an application process summary on pages 10 to 13. 

You will receive an energy bill that looks the same as your regular one, with an additional line item: Microgen Credit. This line shows your credit for the energy you returned to the power grid.

The rate you receive for excess energy sent back onto the grid depends on whether you are a small or large micro-generator:

  • If you are a small micro-generator (under 150 kW), you will be credited at your retail energy rate.

  • If you are a large micro-generator (150 kW to 5,000 kW), you will be credited at the average hourly Alberta Pool Price when your electricity returns to the grid. 

We must provide your micro-generation credit once per year at a minimum. However, we typically give the credit on each monthly bill.

Yes, you are still connected to the electric grid as a micro-generator. That means the associated costs still apply to your site. These costs include:

  • The fixed portions of the distribution charge.

  • Transmission charge.

  • Your municipality's local access fee. 

  • And any other fixed-rate riders.

Micro-generation units rarely produce enough energy to offset your site's usage completely. Your property is going to use some of the energy produced. Whatever isn't used to offset your consumption will be put back into the grid.

You will receive credit for what you put back into the grid, but you must also pay for all the energy you used from the grid.

For example, if you use 800 kWh in one month and you put back 200 kWh into the grid, you will pay for the 800 kWh you used from the grid. Then, you will receive a credit in your retailer charges on a separate line (for the 200 kWh you put back into the grid). 

In the distribution charges section of your bill, you will see the charge for the total 800 kWh delivered.

Keep this in mind! Sometimes it might be easier to think of it as paying for 600 kWh, but this is not the case. You still need to pay the distributor for all the energy delivered.

Didn't find the information you were looking for? We have more FAQs specifically for our regulated customers.  

Have a question about a plan or need help placing an order?

Call us: 1-866-374-6299

Hours: 7:00am - 9:00pm MST (Monday-Friday), 8:00am - 4:30pm MST (Saturday),
Closed Sundays

To enroll, you will need:

  •   To be the person named on the utility account
  •   Your service address
  •   Your billing address (if different)
  •   Your contact details including email address
  •   To be over the age of 18