Weekly Detail on Application Processing Progress

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The Program Administrator is committed to providing continuous updates and additional information on application processing progress. Actual application processing totals last week exceeded the week’s projections shared in the April 4, 2023 weekly update announcement in every project category and application type but one, and updated data is presented below. The Program Administrator is achieving daily increases in application processing volume, through increases in staffing, productivity and automation supporting review. Consistent with its April 4, 2023 announcement, the Program Administrator remains confident in bringing application processing to within two months of submission by mid-May. 

This announcement provides the following application processing updates:

  • Updated application processing tables through the week of April 4, 2023, reflecting actual application submission and processing data
  • Staff updates including further hiring and training efficiencies, and an automation pilot expected to significantly accelerate application reviews

Application Processing Updates
The Program Administrator is not changing the application processing forecasts in this announcement. Application processing data is now updated on the Program website on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and this weekly announcement will reflect both application processing throughput, and any variances in submitted applications.

Updated Application Processing Tables
The following tables provide updated application data by project category and application type. With the program’s continued success, we are seeing increases in submitted applications which is reflected in the actual Small DG submitted applications and creates a larger End of Week Queue.

Applications are reviewed in order of submission date by Part I/Part II groups, regardless of project category. For example, in determining forecasted volumes by week, older Part I Small DG applications are processed before more recently submitted Part I Large DG applications.

*End of Week Queue column includes the total number of applications batched and paid which have not been reviewed.

Project Application Reports – Website Application Processing Tables Clarifications:

  • As clarified in a March 24 announcement, in some cases, applications submitted prior to the date shown in this column may still be in a Need Info status, requiring response from an AV, or in a verification process that may include the further review of data, or the performing or confirming of calculations.
  • As of Friday, April 7, 2023, updated application processing tables include a secondary table breaking out the number of applications (across each project category and type), by status (Reviewed, Need Info, and Verified). 

Staffing and Training Enhancements

  • Staffing Increases – The Program Administrator continued hiring to meet our target of 44 full-time application processing staff by mid-April. Through the week of April 4, 2023, there are 39 full-time equivalent employees on the application team (not including management) across Part I and Part II review, Need Info coordination, verifications, quality assurance, and other essential application review measures. Productivity and review quality are improving each day due to the pool of processors becoming more experienced and the success of automation (described below).  The Program Administrator’s senior leadership continues active oversight, including working to graduate experienced processors to Part II application review from Part I application review as soon as possible.
  • Training Cohorts – This week, the Program Administrator team launched a new hire onboarding and training cohort model, allowing experienced application processors to shadow and support new staff in real-time, answering questions immediately and correcting processing inefficiencies on the spot. The model improves the speed of reviews and improves quality resulting in fewer Need Info requests.

Portal Development and Processing

  • Portal Tools and Assembly-Line Review – This week our application processing and data teams began piloting enhancements for accelerated Part II application review, including the launch of an automation tool that matches appropriate Part I and Part II data fields via automatic verification to ensure accuracy and save processor time. The system also introduces an “assembly line” model whereby processors can focus on very specific application parts, such as installer and qualified person, for faster review. The team will evaluate and refine the models and tools and will develop similar automation for Part I review in the coming weeks. With this automation and other efficiencies, the volume of applications reviewed has increased 74% over last week.  Because the automated process for Part II and additional efficiencies have become components of our regular work, the proportional improvement is expected to increase, and we are well-positioned to meet this upcoming week’s forecasted review goals.
  • Monitoring Throughput and Application Guidance – Reporting and monitoring throughput toward individual processors’ goals have continued, resulting in significant impact on the speed of application review. The Program Administrator tracks average speed on various stages of application review, to monitor throughput and inform our models. For example, currently approximately 30% of applications reviewed require a Need Info request, so the Program Administrator is preparing guidance to Approved Vendors on common information that is missing which results in requests for additional information that can slow application verification.
  • Need Info Reductions – The number of applications classified as Need Info has been reduced in the past two weeks due to re-training of the program requirements, training of new processors and guidance provided in the cohorts. Additionally, there has been an update to the Need Info process to more efficiently assess applications for missing or incorrect information. As of last week, we are back to a regular cadence of emailing Need Info requests every Friday for both Part I and Part II applications.

The Program Administrator appreciates the continued patience and feedback of stakeholders as we aggressively work to improve operations and meet expectations, and by Fall 2023, achieve two-week turnaround time for application review (not including Need Info requests for application corrections from Approved Vendors). Stakeholders are invited to contact the Program Administrator at any time regarding specific applications or overall application processing, by contacting: [email protected] or (877) 783-1820.