The Ontario government has passed a regulation allowing net metering for renewable energy installations up to 500 kW in size, part of its drive, says energy minister Donna Cansfield, to "promote a more diverse and sustainable supply of electricity" in the Canadian province. The regulation will allow small generators, like farmers, who generate power directly for their own use to also connect to the grid, enabling them to receive credit for any excess electricity they export to it. The property's metre keeps track of what is supplied to the grid and what is consumed from it -- and the consumer is billed, or credited, monthly by the utility for the net difference. Credits are carried forward up to 12 months, after which any excess generation remaining falls to the distribution company free of charge. The credit is at the full retail rate, including any non-energy charges that are billed on a per kWh basis. Until now, net metering in Ontario had been available only at the discretion of local energy distribution companies and usually only up to a ceiling of 50 kW. The program earned the praise of the president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Ron Bonnett, who said it would "provide farmers with the opportunity to substantially cut their power bills."