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Net metering is a utility resource usage and payment scheme in which a customer who generates their own power is compensated monetarily. Net metering originated with electric companies as a way to encourage consumers to invest in renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power. In a net metering program, the electric company allows a customer's meter to actually run backwards if the electricity the customer generates is more than they are consuming. At the end of the billing period, the customer only pays for their net consumption: the amount of resources consumed, minus the amount of resources generated.