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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 and Storage
10/28/2021

20VAC5-314-70. Level 3 interconnection process.

A. The Level 3 interconnection process shall be used by an IC proposing to interconnect an SGF with the utility system if the SGF 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 an SGIA (Schedule 10 of 20VAC5-314-170). Any of the studies may be combined by mutual, written agreement of the parties along with payment of applicable interconnection study deposit, set forth in Schedule 6 of 20VAC5-314-170. Such agreement for a combined study shall, at a minimum, include milestones for completion. The combined study timeframes and fees shall not exceed the aggregate timeframes and fees of the individual studies as specified in this section. To maintain its position in the utility's interconnection queue, the IC must execute the agreement for combined study, return it to the utility, and pay the interconnection request study deposit set forth in Schedule 6 of 20VAC5-314-170 within 15 business days after receipt of the agreement. If the IC fails to return the executed agreement for combined study or make the full payment of the interconnection request study deposit within 15 business days after receipt of the agreement, the interconnection request shall be deemed withdrawn, and the interconnection request shall lose its place in the utility's interconnection queue.

B. Scoping meeting.

1. The purpose of the scoping meeting is to discuss the interconnection request and the utility's preliminary interdependency determination. The parties shall discuss the studies potentially required to safely and reliably interconnect the IC to the utility's system, including the cost responsibilities for the studies.

2. A scoping meeting shall be held no later than 10 business days after the Interconnection Request Form is deemed complete or as otherwise mutually agreed to in writing by the parties. The utility and the IC shall bring to the meeting all resources as may be reasonably required to accomplish the purpose of the meeting, such as system engineers and other personnel.

3. The scoping meeting may be omitted by mutual, written agreement of the parties.

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 (Schedule 7 of 20VAC5-314-170), including an outline of the scope of the feasibility study and an estimate of the cost to perform the study, no later than 10 business days after the scoping meeting or 10 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 (Schedule 8 of 20VAC5-314-170) including an outline of the scope of the study and an estimate of the cost to perform the study no later than 10 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, return it to the utility, and pay the interconnection request study deposit set forth in Schedule 6 of 20VAC5-314-170 within 15 business days after receipt of the agreement. If the IC fails to return the executed Feasibility Study Agreement or make the full payment of the interconnection request study 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. Feasibility study costs will be deducted from the interconnection request study deposit pursuant to Schedule 7 of 20VAC5-314-170.

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 modifications made to the interconnection request shall be made in writing to the utility. If the IC submits a modification to its interconnection request in writing and the utility determines the modification is not a material modification, the time to complete the feasibility study may be extended by mutual, written 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 a determination of the feasibility of all potential points of interconnection for an SGF at the specified site as requested by the IC and shall be 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 10 business days of the completion of the study, the utility shall send the IC either an SGIA (Schedule 10 of 20VAC5-314-170) or a Facilities Study Agreement (Schedule 9 of 20VAC5-314-170), including an outline of the scope of the facilities 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 10 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 (Schedule 8 of 20VAC5-314-170), 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, return it to the utility, and if applicable, pay the interconnection request study deposit set forth in Schedule 6 of 20VAC5-314-170 within 15 business days after receipt of the agreement. If the IC fails to return the executed System Impact Study Agreement or make the full payment of the applicable interconnection request study 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. System impact study costs will be deducted from the interconnection request study deposit pursuant to Schedule 8 of 20VAC5-314-170.

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, including addressing any 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, if applicable, and the technical information provided by the IC 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 in the connection request, the time to complete the system impact study may be extended by written, mutual agreement.

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, communications 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 and the SGF must be at the same site.

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 of this subdivision, 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 the System Impact Study Agreement is signed by the parties.

10. If the system impact study shows that facility modifications are needed to accommodate the SGF, then within 10 business days following transmittal of the system impact study report, the utility shall send the IC a Facilities Study Agreement (Schedule 9 of 20VAC5-314-170), 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 impact study or system impact study and to allow the 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 and, if applicable, pay the interconnection request study deposit set forth in Schedule 6 of 20VAC5-314-170 within 30 business days after receipt of the agreement, unless an extension has been agreed to in writing 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. Facilities study costs will be deducted from the interconnection request deposit pursuant to Schedule 9 of 20VAC5-314-170.

4. Design for any required customer's interconnection facilities, attachment facilities, 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 in writing 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 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 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 direct the utility to install those facilities required for only the IC's own SGF 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 completed Facilities Study Agreement. In cases where no system upgrades are necessary and the required facilities are limited to the IC's interconnection facilities and attachment facilities only, the utility shall transmit the facilities study report within 30 business days after receipt of the completed Facilities Study Agreement.

F. Construction planning meeting.

1. Within 15 business days of receipt of the report for the final study (i.e., the facilities study or, if applicable, a combined study that satisfies all study requirements), the IC shall request a construction planning meeting where failure to comply shall result in the interconnection request being deemed withdrawn. The construction planning meeting request shall be in writing and shall include the IC's reasonably requested date for completion of the construction of the customer's interconnection facilities and upgrades.

2. The construction planning meeting shall be scheduled within 15 business days of the request from the IC as stated in subdivision F 1 of this section, or as otherwise mutually agreed to in writing by the parties.

3. The purpose of the construction planning meeting is to identify the tasks for each party and discuss and determine the milestones for the construction of the system upgrades and attachment facilities. Agreed upon milestones shall be specific as to scope of action, responsible party, and dates of deliverables and shall be recorded in the SGIA (see Schedule 10 of 20VAC5-314-170) to be provided to the IC.

G. Small Generator Interconnection Agreement. No later than 10 business days after the construction planning meeting, the utility shall provide the IC an executable SGIA as set forth in 20VAC5-314-50 F (Schedule 10 of 20VAC5-314-170).

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 25, Issue 20, eff. May 21, 2009; amended, Virginia Register Volume 37, Issue 1, eff. October 15, 2020.

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