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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 20. Public Utilities and Telecommunications
Agency 5. State Corporation Commission
Chapter 314. Regulations Governing Interconnection of Small Electrical Generators
9/24/2020

20VAC5-314-70. Level 3 Interconnection Process.

A. The Level 3 interconnection process shall be used by an interconnection customer proposing to interconnect a small generating facility with the utility system if the SGF is no larger than 20 MW and does not pass or qualify for the Level 1 or Level 2 interconnection processes. As needed, a scoping meeting, feasibility study, system impact study, and facilities study shall precede the preparation of a Small Generator Interconnection Agreement (Schedule 6 of 20VAC5-314-170). Any of the studies may be combined by mutual agreement of the parties.

B. Scoping meeting.

1. A scoping meeting will be held within 10 business days after the Interconnection Request Form is deemed complete, or as otherwise mutually agreed to by the parties. The utility and the IC shall bring to the meeting personnel, including system engineers and other resources as may be reasonably required to accomplish the purpose of the meeting.

2. The purpose of the scoping meeting is to discuss the interconnection request. The parties shall discuss the studies and the cost responsibilities for the studies.

3. The scoping meeting may be omitted by mutual agreement.

C. Feasibility study.

1. If the parties agree that a feasibility study should be performed, the utility shall provide the IC with a feasibility study agreement, including an outline of the scope of the feasibility study and an estimate of the cost to perform the study no later than five business days after the scoping meeting or five business days after the decision is made to not have a scoping meeting and otherwise pursuant to subsection D of this section.

If the parties agree to not perform a feasibility study, the utility shall provide the IC a system impact study agreement including an outline of the scope of the study and an estimate of the cost to perform the study no later than five business days after the scoping meeting, or five business days after the decision is made to not have a scoping meeting.

2. To maintain its position in the utility's interconnection queue, the IC must execute the feasibility study agreement and return it to the utility along with the deposit for the feasibility study within 15 business days after receipt of the agreement. If the IC fails to return the executed feasibility study agreement along with the deposit within 15 business days after receipt of the agreement, the interconnection request shall be deemed withdrawn and the interconnection request shall lose its place in the utility's interconnection queue.

3. A feasibility study shall identify any potential adverse system impacts that would result from the interconnection of the SGF.

4. A deposit of no more than 50% of the estimated feasibility study costs or earnest money of $1,000 may be required from the interconnection customer.

a. Study costs shall be the utility's actual incremental costs and will be invoiced to the IC after the study is completed and delivered and will include a summary of professional time.

b. The IC shall pay any study costs that exceed the deposit without interest within 30 calendar days on receipt of the invoice or resolution of any dispute. If the deposit exceeds the invoiced fees, the utility shall refund such excess within 30 calendar days of the invoice without interest.

5. The feasibility study shall be based on the technical information provided by the IC in the Interconnection Request Form, as may be modified as the result of the scoping meeting. The utility reserves the right to request additional technical information from the IC as may reasonably become necessary consistent with Good Utility Practice during the course of the feasibility study and as designated in accordance with the standard small generator interconnection procedures. All modification made to the interconnection request shall be made in writing to the utility. If the interconnection customer modifies its interconnection request, the time to complete the feasibility study may be extended by agreement of the parties.

6. In performing the feasibility study, the utility shall rely, to the extent reasonably practicable, on recent studies. The IC shall not be charged for such existing studies; however, the IC shall be responsible for charges associated with any new study or modifications to existing studies that are reasonably necessary to perform the feasibility study.

7. The feasibility study report shall provide the following analyses for the purpose of identifying any potential adverse system impacts that would result from the interconnection of the SGF:

a. Initial identification of any circuit breaker short circuit capability limits exceeded;

b. Initial identification of any thermal overload or voltage limit violations;

c. Initial review of grounding requirements and electric system protection; and

d. Description and estimated cost of facilities and estimated construction time required to interconnect the SGF and to address the identified short circuit and power flow issues.

8. The feasibility study shall model the impact of the SGF for all purposes identified in the Interconnection Request Form in order to avoid the further expense and interruption of operation for reexamination of feasibility and impacts if the IC later changes the purpose for which the SGF is being installed.

9. The feasibility study shall include the feasibility of all potential points of interconnection, as requested by the IC and at the IC's cost.

10. A feasibility study report shall be prepared and transmitted to the IC within 30 business days of the utility's receipt of the complete executed feasibility study agreement and required deposit.

11. If the feasibility study shows no potential for adverse system impacts, then within five business days the utility shall send the IC either an executable Small Generator Interconnection Agreement (Schedule 5, 20VAC5-314-170) or a facilities study agreement, including an outline of the scope of the study and an estimate of the cost to perform the study.

12. If the feasibility study shows potential for adverse system impacts, the review process shall proceed to the system impact study.

D. System impact study.

1. No later than five business days after the parties agree that a system impact study should be performed, the utility shall provide the IC a system impact study agreement including an outline of the scope of the system impact study and an estimate of the cost to perform the study.

2. To maintain its position in the utility's interconnection queue, the IC must execute the system impact study agreement and return it to the utility along with the deposit for the system impact study within 15 business days after receipt of the agreement. If the IC fails to return the executed system impact study agreement along with the deposit within 15 business days after receipt of the agreement, the interconnection request shall be deemed withdrawn and the interconnection request shall lose its place in the utility's interconnection queue.

3. A deposit equal to the estimated cost of a system impact study may be required from the IC.

a. Study cost shall be the utility's actual incremental costs and will be invoiced to the IC after the study is completed and delivered and will include a summary of professional time.

b. The IC shall pay any study costs that exceed the deposit within 30 calendar days on receipt of the invoice or resolution of any dispute. If the deposit exceeds the invoiced fees, the utility shall refund the excess within 30 calendar days of the invoice without interest.

4. A system impact study shall identify and detail the electric system impacts that would result if the SGF were interconnected without project modifications or electric system modifications, focusing on the adverse electric system impacts identified in the feasibility study, or in the scoping meeting. A system impact study shall evaluate the impact of the proposed interconnection on the reliability of the electric system.

5. A system impact study will be based upon the results of the feasibility study and the technical information provided by the interconnection customer in the interconnection request. The utility reserves the right to request additional technical information from the IC as may reasonably become necessary consistent with Good Utility Practice during the course of the system impact study. If the IC modifies its designated point of interconnection, or interconnection request, or the technical information provided therein, the time to complete the system impact study may be extended.

6. A system impact study shall consist of a study of the potentially impacted transmission and distribution systems, a short circuit analysis, a stability analysis, a power flow analysis, voltage drop and flicker studies, grounding reviews, distribution load flow study, analysis of equipment interrupting ratings, protection coordination study, and impacts on electric system operation, as necessary. A system impact study shall state the assumptions upon which it is based, state the results of the analyses, and provide the requirement or potential impediments to providing the requested interconnection service, including a preliminary indication of the cost and length of time that would be necessary to correct any problems identified in those analyses and implement the interconnection. A system impact study shall provide a list of facilities and modifications that would be required as a result of the interconnection along with estimates of cost responsibility and time to construct. If arranged with the utility prior to the utility preparing the system impact study agreement, the system impact study may, at the IC's cost, include one or more alternatives to the point of interconnection; however, such alternative points must be on the same distribution circuit as the point of interconnection the IC specified as the proposed point of interconnection.

7. Affected systems may participate in the preparation of a system impact study, with a division of costs among such entities as they may agree. All affected systems shall be afforded an opportunity to review and comment upon a system impact study that covers potential adverse system impacts on their electric systems, and the utility has 20 additional business days to complete a system impact study requiring review by affected systems.

8. If the utility uses a queuing procedure for sorting or prioritizing projects and their associated cost responsibilities for any required network upgrades, the system impact study shall consider all generating facilities (and with respect to clause iii below, any identified upgrades associated with such higher queued interconnection) that, on the date the system impact study is commenced are: (i) directly interconnected with the utility system; or (ii) interconnected with affected systems and may have an impact on the proposed interconnection; and (iii) have a pending higher queued interconnection request to interconnect with the utility system.

9. A system impact study, if required, shall be completed and the results transmitted to the IC within 45 business days after an agreement is signed by the parties, or in accordance with the utility's queuing procedures.

10. If the system impact study shows that facility modifications are needed to accommodate the SGF, then within five business days following transmittal of the system impact study report, the utility shall send the IC a facilities study agreement, including an outline of the scope of the study and an estimate of the cost to perform the study.

E. Facilities study.

1. The facilities study shall specify and estimate the cost of the equipment, engineering, procurement, and construction work needed to implement the conclusion of the feasibility and/or system impact study and to allow SGF to be interconnected and operate safely and reliably.

2. To maintain its position in the utility's interconnection queue, the IC must execute the facilities study agreement and return it to the utility along with a completed Facilities Study Information Form (Schedule 5, 20VAC5-314-170) and deposit for the facilities study within 30 business days after receipt of the agreement, unless an extension has been agreed to with the utility. Otherwise, the interconnection request shall be deemed withdrawn and the interconnection request shall lose its place in the utility's interconnection queue.

3. A deposit equal to the estimated cost of a facilities study may be required from the IC.

a. Study cost shall be the utility's actual incremental costs and will be invoiced to the IC after the study is completed and delivered and will include a summary of professional time.

b. The IC shall pay any study costs that exceed the deposit within 30 calendar days after receipt of the invoice or resolution of any dispute. If the deposit exceeds the invoiced fees, the utility shall refund the excess within 30 calendar days of the invoice without interest.

4. Design for any required customer's interconnection facilities, attachment facilities, and/or upgrades shall be performed under the facilities study. The utility may contract with consultants to perform activities required under the facilities study. The IC and the utility may agree to allow the IC to separately arrange for the design of some of the customer's interconnection facilities. In such cases, facilities design will be reviewed and/or modified prior to acceptance by the utility, under the provisions of the facilities study. If the parties agree to separately arrange for design and construction, and provided security and confidentiality requirements can be met, the utility shall make sufficient information available to the IC in accordance with confidentiality and critical infrastructure requirements, to permit the IC to obtain an independent design and cost estimate for any necessary facilities.

5. The facilities study shall identify (i) the electrical switching configuration of the equipment, including, without limitation, transformer, switchgear, meters, and other station equipment, (ii) the nature and estimated cost of the attachment facilities and distribution upgrades necessary to accomplish the interconnection, and (iii) an estimate of the time required to complete the construction and installation of such facilities.

6. The utility may propose to group facilities required for more than one IC in order to minimize facilities costs through economies of scale, but any IC may require the installation of facilities required for its own small generating facility if it pays the costs of those facilities.

7. In cases where system upgrades are required, the utility shall transmit the facilities study report within 45 business days after receipt of the complete facilities study agreement, Facilities Study Information Form, and the deposit. In cases where no system upgrades are necessary, and the required facilities are limited to customer's interconnection facilities and attachment facilities only, the utility shall transmit the facilities study report within 30 business days after receipt of the complete facilities study agreement, Facilities Study Information Form and the deposit.

F. Small Generator Interconnection Agreement.

1. Within five business days after transmittal of the final study (i.e. the facilities study, or if applicable, a combined study that satisfies all study requirements), the utility shall provide the interconnection customer an executable SGIA (Schedule 6, 20VAC5-314-170).

2. After receiving the SGIA from the utility, the IC shall have 30 business days or another mutually agreeable deadline, to sign and return the SGIA. If the IC does not return the SGIA within the deadline, the interconnection request shall be deemed withdrawn and the IC shall lose its place in the utility's queue. After the SGIA is signed by the parties, the interconnection of the SGF shall proceed under the provisions of the SGIA.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 56-578 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 25, Issue 20, eff. May 21, 2009.

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