Weekly Detail on Application Processing Progress

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Energy Solutions remains committed to providing frequent updates and details on application processing progress for Illinois Shines. Project application review volumes for the week again exceeded our forecasted processing volume, continuing progress toward the Program Administrator’s forecast to bring application processing to within two months of submission by mid-May, as shared in the April 4, 2023, announcement. The Program Administrator continues to allocate staff to increase applications reviewed each week and implement process solutions toward the goal of reviewing applications within a two-week turnaround by the end of Summer 2023.

This announcement provides the following application processing updates:

  • Updated application processing tables through the week starting May 8, 2023 and forecast aligning with a two-month turnaround this week.
  • Updates on staffing, training, resourcing, process improvement, and automation to accelerate application reviews

Application Processing Updates

The Program Administrator continues to forecast achieving review turnaround times of two weeks by Summer 2023. Updated application processing data continues to be published on the Program website on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  This weekly announcement reflects application processing throughput and any variances in submitted applications as well as updates on our Need Info efforts.

The week of May 8, 2023, the Program received more new project applications than projected, and the Program Administrator remains prepared to address these higher volumes which are expected to continue for the coming month.

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

CriteriaNumber of projects affectedApp ID(s)Score UpdateReason for updateExplanation of error
1a: Contaminated land1395055
95154
93293
93339
93346
94377
95107
93994
94002
95061
95113
95241
95244
-2 pointsThis project is not sited on a location that independently qualifies as both contaminated lands defined by the U.S. EPA and as a brownfield under Section 1-10 of the IPA Act. Therefore, it cannot receive points for 1a, contaminated lands solely by virtue of being a brownfield.In the scores for TCS projects released on March 10, 2023, this footnote was applied incorrectly. Projects that documented brownfield status via a singular cause or determinant were incorrectly given points for contaminated land for that same determinant. Footnote 3 clearly states that in order for a project to receive points for both brownfield (1.b) and contaminated land (1.a), the site must “independently qualify” for each distinction (meaning projects may not “double dip” with a single determinant for both scoring criteria, as any brownfield site would necessarily, by definition of a brownfield, be contaminated). As this was originally applied incorrectly and discovered via the Audit, all projects that were awarded points for both scoring criterion 1.a and criterion 1.b for the same determinant were corrected.
1.a: Mechanically Disturbed land394625
94800
95129
- 2 pointsThese projects do not meet the definition of mechanically disturbed land.Upon review of all mechanically disturbed documentation, it was determined that these projects are not in transition from one cover type to another and therefore do not meet the definition of mechanically disturbed land.
1.b: Brownfield195165-2 points
for 1b

+2 points for 1a
This project cannot produce the permits that are required to confirm brownfield status. However, it does meet the requirements for contaminated land, so 2 points can be awarded for criterion 1a.Upon review of all brownfield documentation, it was determined that this project did not provide the necessary documentation outlined in the scoring guidelines.
1.e: Conservation Opportunity Area (COA)295118
95411
+2 pointsThe project was determined to not be sited in a COA areaThe manual process of checking addresses was prone to error and some project addresses that are listed in the address field are not 100% accurate, especially in rural areas. For the audit, the Program Administrator double checked each project address/coordinates from the plot map to ensure the exact project location.
1.e: COA195164+2 pointsThough sited on a Conservation Opportunity Area, the project was in an R3 Area and should not have had points deducted.This project was newly identified to be in an R3 Area, therefore, the COA subtractor is negated.
1.e: COA192997-2 pointsThe project was determined to be sited in a COA and without meeting criteria that can prevent the subtraction of points.The manual process of checking addresses was prone to error and some project addresses that are listed in the address field are not 100% accurate, especially in rural areas. For the audit, the Program Administrator double checked each project address/coordinates from the plot map to ensure the exact project location.
1.e: COA194002-2 pointsThe project was determined to be sited in a COA and without meeting criteria necessary to offset the subtraction of points.The COA deduction was originally negated because the project is located on a brownfield, but the Program Administrator did not confirm the commitment to a pollinator friendly habitat was included, so the COA subtractor remains applicable. Administrative error in the confirmation of multiple factors required in the application of criteria points.
CriteriaNumber of projects affectedApp ID(s)Score UpdateReason for updateExplanation of error
2.a395164
95299
95360
+2 pointsLocated in R3 Area or an Environmental Justice CommunityThe manual process of checking addresses was prone to error and some project addresses that are listed in the address field are not 100% accurate, especially in rural areas. For the audit, the Program Administrator double checked each project address/coordinates from the plot map to ensure the exact project location.
2.c995191
95141
95246
95182
95252
95084
95303
95343
92996
- 2 pointsBecause there are CS reallocation projects found in Coles and McHenry County, Algonquin & Chemung township, the points should not have been added.There was a gap in the original scoring process. The Program Administrator originally scored criteria 4.c based on CS projects that had been ICC approved before the date of application, and mistakenly did not include the CS reallocation projects.
2.c295192
95199
-2 pointsBecause there are ICC-approved CS projects located in Cook County, Bloom township, and St. Clair County, the points should not have been added.The manual process of checking addresses was prone to error and some project addresses that are listed in the address field are not 100% accurate, especially in rural areas. For the audit, the Program Administrator double checked each project address/coordinates from the plot map to ensure the exact project location.
2.c995111
95447
95410
94726
95416
95069
90673
94773
92765
+2 pointsThere are no CS projects located in Macon, Fayette, Mercer, Perry, Lake, and DuPage County, and Kane County, Elgin & Aurora township, so the points should have been added.The manual process of checking addresses was prone to error and some project addresses that are listed in the address field are not 100% accurate, especially in rural areas. For the audit, the Program Administrator double checked each project address/coordinates from the plot map to ensure the exact project location.
Disclosure Form StatusSuggested Actions BEFORE June 1, 2023Available Actions AFTER June 1, 2023
1.     Disclosure Form in progress in portal (not yet generated for signature)-        Complete form and download for wet signature or send for e-signature-        Any in-progress form data will automatically populate in the Version 2 form format in the portal, even if data entry began prior to June 1.
-        User will need to correct data validations and complete new fields present in Version 2 forms.
-        Version 2 forms can be executed through wet signature or e-signature
2.     Disclosure Form generated but not yet signed -        Download form to wet sign OR-        If an e-signature request is sent to the customer prior to June 1, the customer can execute the e-signature after the cutover date, and the e-signed form will appear in the Portal as normal
-        send out for e-signature prior to June 1-        E-signature requests cannot be made for Version 1 forms after June 1
-        The form will be able to be downloaded for wet signature and uploaded after June 1
-        The ability to “View Summary” of Version 1 Disclosure Forms will not be available on June 1 (this is the view that shows all questions and answers for the DF); users will be able to view PDFs of completed Version 1 Disclosure Forms*
-        The Administrator “Resume” feature, which is used by the Program Administrator to revise completed and submitted Disclosure Forms, will not be available in the portal on June 1; without this functionality, AVs will need to submit a new Disclosure Form in cases of errors requiring correction.*
3.     Disclosure Form generated and sent for e-signature, but not yet signed-        No action-        If an e-signature request is sent to the customer prior to June 1, the customer can execute the e-signature after the cutover date, and the e-signed form will appear in the Portal as normal
-        Generated PDF forms and uploaded forms will be visible and downloadable
-        The ability to “View Summary” of Version 1 Disclosure Forms will not be available on June 1 (this is the view that shows all questions and answers for the DF); users will be able to view PDFs of completed Version 1 Disclosure Forms*
-        The Administrator “Resume” feature which is used by the Program Administrator to revise completed and submitted Disclosure Forms will not be available in the portal on June 1; without this functionality, AVs will need to submit a new Disclosure Form in cases of errors requiring correction.*
4.     Disclosure Form generated and wet signed-        No action-        Generated PDF forms and uploaded forms will be visible and downloadable
-        The ability to “View Summary” of Version 1 Disclosure Forms will not be available on June 1 (this is the view that shows all questions and answers for the DF); users will be able to view PDFs of completed Version 1 Disclosure Forms*
-        The Administrator “Resume” feature which is used by the Program Administrator to revise completed and submitted Disclosure Forms will not be available in the portal on June 1; without this functionality, AVs will need to submit a new Disclosure Form in cases of errors requiring correction.*
5.     Disclosure Form generated with completed e-signature-        No action-        Generated PDF forms and uploaded forms will be visible and downloadable
-        The ability to “View Summary” of Version 1 Disclosure Forms will not be available on June 1 (this is the view that shows all questions and answers for the DF); users will be able to view PDFs of completed Version 1 Disclosure Forms*
-        The Administrator “Resume” feature which is used by the Program Administrator to revise completed and submitted Disclosure Forms will not be available in the portal on June 1; without this functionality, AVs will need to submit a new Disclosure Form in cases of errors requiring correction.*
6.     CSV Template-        Forms started before June 1 by CSV but not generated/submitted will fall under scenario 1. -        Use Version 2 CSV template for Disclosure Form creation that will be released June 1, 2023 to enable CSV uploads for new DFs
-        Forms generated and downloaded for wet signature or sent for e-signature before June 1, 2023, by CSV will fall under Scenarios 2-4.
7.     CS Disclosure Forms submitted and signed in SharePoint work around-        Upload CSV template to SharePoint by July 1, 2023-        Utilize the Version 2 CSV template, or API for CS forms
-        Recommended: New forms to be created by CSV upload or in the portal-        Program Administrator will support backend data uploads for work around process until the end of June
-         
8.     Accessing Version 1 completed Disclosure Forms-        Work with Program Administrator to complete revision and re-submission for any forms previously submitted. This may apply for disclosure forms that are progressing through app processing -        The ability to “View Summary” of Version 1 Disclosure Forms will not be available on June 1 (this is the view that shows all questions and answers for the DF); users will be able to view PDFs of completed Version 1 Disclosure Forms*
-        The Administrator “Resume” feature which is used by the Program Administrator to revise completed and submitted Disclosure Forms will not be available in the portal on June 1; without this functionality, AVs will need to submit a new Disclosure Form in cases of errors requiring correction.*
-        Users will be guided to start a new Version 2 Disclosure Form for any changes to previously submitted and signed forms
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*End of Week Queue column includes the total number of applications batched and paid which have not been reviewed. Due to project cancellations, the current queue may not exactly equal the previous week’s queue plus submitted less reviewed application volumes.

Staffing and Training Enhancements

  • Staffing – The Program Administrator’s applications team is more than 50 full-time equivalent employees. Gains in both automation and reviewer experience are allowing the Program Administrator to strategically allocate staff across high-need review areas including Need Info process including relevant reviews and AV communications.
  • Productivity and Quality Gains – Increases in staff experience, the continued success of training cohorts, bulk review tools supported a 25% increase in review volumes for the week of May 8, 2023, from the prior week.
  • Monitoring and Resourcing – The Program Administrator’s senior leadership continues to actively monitor the team’s performance and adjust resources to meet review requirements.

Need Info Updates

A high proportion of new application processing staff has resulted in a significant volume of project applications erroneously flagged as Need Info. Addressing this issue and resulting delays in application approvals is a very high priority. Last week a Need Info working group, led by experienced Program staff, was formed, and began meeting to review data, identify erroneous patterns and assign responsibilities to correct applications and improved training of reviewers. The Program Administrator appreciates the feedback of stakeholders and expects to soon report significant progress here.

  • Avoiding Need Info Reminder: When submitting a Disclosure Form with any changes, it must be signed by the customer.

Portal Development and Processing

  • Portal Tools and Bulk Review – The bulk processing model continues to help accelerate application review. Following the usage on Part II application review, the bulk tool and process were implemented for Part I applications last week, supporting improved review speeds and volumes. The Program Administrator continues to consider opportunities to increase efficiencies for faster application review and verification.
  • Monitoring Throughput and Application Guidance – Individual and team coaching and monitoring processors’ throughput against daily and weekly goals has continued, supporting continued productivity and accuracy.

The Program Administrator thanks stakeholders for their continued patience and feedback. We are continuing to work hard to meet aggressive review targets and bring application processing into expected timeframes for the benefit of all stakeholders. 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.