Winning Smart Electric Power Alliance’s top award for connecting the most solar in 2015—1,258 new MW of capacity—didn’t come without challenges for Southern California Edison. Adding that much capacity meant that the utility connected a new solar customer to the grid every nine minutes in 2015. That represents a tremendous volume of net energy metering applications being processed—more than 150 per day, every single day—a total of nearly 57,000 in 2015.
In December 2014, Southern California Edison’s internal net metering processes were put to the test handling an unexpected rush of applications. In response, the utility kicked-off a complete re-engineering of their net metering interconnection processes with the aim of achieving one-day service for customers—down from an average 73 days at the beginning of 2015.
The result? By the end of 2015, average time to interconnection was down to 3 days, and in May 2016, 51% of net energy metering applications were one-touch applications. One touch-applications usually receive permission to operate the same day that a complete application package is submitted because it only requires a single review by Southern California Edison.
Southern California Edison’s holistic approach to re-engineering their processes required intense collaboration across all involved departments to reduce unnecessary internal hand-offs and process steps. Also, Southern California Edison listened to, and prioritized the needs and concerns of their solar contractors, who make up the vast majority of applicants.
These types of challenges are not unique: A recent webinar poll indicates that other utilities are facing similar pain-points when handling interconnection applications.
In addition to working closely with internal and external interconnection stakeholders to identify and implement process improvements, Southern California Edison also implemented PowerClerk® during the first quarter of 2015. By transitioning every step of the application, review and approval process online, Southern California Edison was able to achieve greater efficiency in the workflow, enable smooth inter-departmental hand-offs and give everyone involved in the process greater visibility into the status of each application.
Today, Southern California Edison is working on continuing to improve its processes with insight gained from being able to analyze each step with data pulled from PowerClerk.
You can learn more about Southern California Edison’s journey to same-day interconnection in this on-demand webinar “Interconnection Best Practices: How Southern California Edison Achieved 3-Day Approvals.” You’ll hear from Southern California Edison’s Dustin Kempf, Principle Manager, and Tom Anderson, Project Manager as they highlight key factors to success that can be applied to any interconnection process improvement project.