PowerClerk: The DER interconnection control center

In September 2016, we released an important new integration capability that enables utilities to use PowerClerk® to create their own distributed energy resource (DER) interconnection control center. By using web service integrations and a cloud-hosted business process management solution as a central hub, utilities can enable automation and coordination throughout the interconnection workflow.

In PowerClerk this feature is called the Web Adapter, and it can be used to perform a variety of operations. One such example is validating a customer account number and other details against the utility’s records and, on a match, populating that customer’s details into a PowerClerk form. Instead of the applicant having to hand-enter all that data, the Web Adapter populates the form with data the utility already has, for example, in its customer information system.

Configuring an Action to Call a Web Adapter

We’ve heard from utilities and DER installers and contractors that a very common reason for an interconnection application to be rejected is mistyped utility customer information. So, what better source for that information in the application than the utility’s customer information system itself?

How CIS integration reduced errors by almost 95% for ORU

We’re happy to report that PowerClerk customer Orange and Rockland Utilities (ORU) is successfully using the Web Adapter feature in exactly this way to reduce the amount of manual data entry (and opportunity for mistyped information) for their interconnection applicants.

ORU reports this integration has dramatically improved the quality of interconnection applications their team receives and reviews. In a recent PowerClerk User Group Meeting, Meghan Carrero of ORU reported that her team has seen a reduction of “almost 95%” in the volume of applications submitted with errors. That’s 95% fewer projects that need to be submitted twice by the contractor and reviewed twice by the utility.

ORU’s team is now able to focus much more of their time reviewing valid projects, which will in turn improve their processing times and reduce their processing costs. Similarly, their applicants are spending less of their time fixing basic spelling errors in applications.

Future integration and automation plans

This is a simple example of how Web Adapters can increase efficiency and provide deeper interconnection automation. PowerClerk Web Adapters are also being used to automatically send work requests to ORU’s metering department, automatically keep GIS maps up-to-date with the status of projects in PowerClerk, and more.

Now that ORU has enabled this reduction in application errors, what are they looking to improve next? This year, they’re working on another project to automate their engineering technical screens by integrating PowerClerk with their distribution planning software, EDD’s DEW, to meet NY REV requirements.

Automation of the technical screens will provide yet deeper automation and efficiency for applicants and ORU. We look forward to providing additional updates on that project in the coming months.

Interested in learning more about PowerClerk’s integration capabilities?

Learn how PowerClerk can become your processing hub for an end-to-end DER interconnection workflow that leverages existing customer information systems, geographic information systems and distribution planning applications. Process DER applications faster even as you conduct more complete system analysis.

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