Author: arein

Consumer Complaint Database posted

The Program Administrator announces that a Database of Consumer Complaints is now available on the Adjustable Block Program and Illinois Shines websites. The database provides a summary of complaints received by the programs and the status of their resolution. This report complements the previously released Disciplinary Actions Report and will be updated when changes occur to ensure that the information is up to date and serves as a reliable resource.

In addition, the Illinois Power Agency has filed the 2019 Consumer Complaints Report with the Illinois Commerce Commission. The report describes in more detail 28 complaints received by the Program Administrator between November 2018 and December 2019 as well as three disciplinary actions taken during that period. These complaints represent a very small portion of the over 11,000 project applications received.

In developing the Database and Report, the Illinois Power Agency and the Program Administrator have sought to balance respecting the privacy of complainants and the benefits of having transparent information that can be valuable to other consumers who may be seeking an Approved Vendor/Designee to work with. The Database and Report do not contain any personally identifying information regarding the complainant. (Background on stakeholder feedback on this topic can be found here.)

To be considered a consumer complaint, a complaint generally will need to come directly from the impacted consumer. However, the Program Administrator maintains the discretion to publish information on a complaint received from an ABP Approved Vendor/Designee or a third-party if the complaint provides information that would be valuable to other parties. Generally, complaints from an ABP Approved Vendor/Designee should be directed to the Program Administrator and will be addressed within the scope of the Program.

Reminders regarding energization extension requests and force majeure

The Illinois Power Agency and the Adjustable Block Program Administrator recognize that the COVID-19 crisis is creating uncertainties that could impact performance under Adjustable Block Program contracts. (See also the Agency’s March 20, 2020 announcement.)

Should Approved Vendors consider requesting extensions to energization deadlines and requests for force majeure, the Agency has the following procedural reminders.

Format

  • In general, requests should be made by submitting a formal letter on company letterhead in PDF format. Please include any applicable supporting documentation. Communicating that request by email is generally appropriate.
  • Please note that an energization deadline extension request is distinct from requesting the recognition of a force majeure event, and any request should clearly specify what relief is being requested and what specific clause of the contract is being invoked.

Energization deadline extensions

  • Several options for extension of energization deadlines are available; please see Section 5(b) of the REC Contract, starting on page 3.
  • Under Section 5(b), extension requests must be “made in writing by Seller to Buyer and the IPA.”  For the IPA, please email the request to IPA.Solar@illinois.gov.  For the Buyer, please refer to the contact sheet found within the contract itself.

Force Majeure

  • For any Approved Vendor seeking the recognition of a force majeure event under an Adjustable Bock Program REC delivery contract (see Article 6 as amended starting on page 30), the force majeure notification “must be made to both the Buyer and the IPA.”
  • In providing notification to the IPA, please email the request to IPA.Solar@illinois.gov.  For the Buyer, please refer to the contact sheet found within the contract itself.

 

Group A Small DG Block 1 capacity reached

The Illinois Power Agency (“IPA”) and Program Administrator announce that Block 1 for the Group A Small Distributed Generation (“DG”) project category (i.e. DG projects up to and including 10 kWac) has been filled. Block 1 will remain open for 7 calendar days per the soft-close provision in Section 6.3.2 of the Revised Long-Term Plan approved by the Illinois Commerce Commission on February 18, 2020.

Any Group A Small DG batches submitted prior to March 31, 2020 at 5:00 PM Central Prevailing Time will be allocated to Block 1, provided that the application fee is paid within 10 business days following submittal. Once the 7-day window of the soft-close has concluded, Block 1 will be considered closed and Block 2 will open. Any Group A Small DG applications submitted on or after March 31, 2020 at 5:00 PM Central Prevailing Time will be allocated to Block 2 and if verified will receive Block 2 REC pricing.

The Program Administrator will make another announcement on the date of the opening of Block 2 for Group A Small DG.

IPA COVID-19 Announcement

The IPA has released this statement regarding COVID-19.

All Program participants are requested to read this announcement as it, among other factors:
  • Includes a change in Program requirements and the Marketing Guidelines
  • Establishes new requirements around face-to-face interaction
  • Provides updates on planned workshops
  • Gives guidance on system inspections going forward

Large DG and Community Solar waitlists posted

The Program Administrator has posted spreadsheets of the waitlists for the Group A Large DG and Group B Large DG categories on the Large DG dashboard page. Additionally, the Group A Community Solar and Group B Community Solar waitlists can be found on the Community Solar dashboard page. These files will be refreshed daily.

Please refer to the announcements on the Program website for more details on the closure of Group B Large DG Block 4 posted on March 5, 2020, the closure of Group A Large DG Block 4 posted on March 6, 2020, and the more general block closing protocol posted on February 26, 2020.

Section 6.3.3.1.1 of the Revised Long-Term Plan requires that waitlisted community solar projects, “will have to verify with the Program Administrator within 90 days of the approval of this Revised Plan that the project has maintained any applicable land use permits and site control (e.g., leases or lease options)” in order to remain on a waitlist. The Program Administrator will announce the process for this verification shortly.

Group A Large DG Block 4 closed

On March 5, 2020 an application was submitted that exceeded the available capacity in Group A Large DG Block 4. This application and all other applications for this Group/category submitted in a paid batch on or prior to 11:59 PM Central Prevailing Time on that date were allocated to Block 4 up to a cap of 5 MW of additional Block 4 capacity. As previously announced on February 26, 2020, the application that crossed the 5MW cap was allocated to Block 4 in its entirety; as a result, the additional capacity allocated to Block 4 is 5.14 MWac. All subsequently submitted applications will be placed on a waitlist as the Block is now closed. At this time there is not a schedule for the opening of a future block of capacity for Group A Large DG. Please refer to the announcement of the Block 4 closing protocol on illinoisabp.com for more details.

Group B Large DG Block 4 closed

On March 4, 2020 an application was submitted that exceeded the available capacity in Group B Large DG Block 4. This application and all other applications for this Group/category submitted in a paid batch on or prior to 11:59 PM Central Prevailing Time on that date (731.2 kWac) were allocated to Block 4. These applications did not exceed the closing day cap of 5 MW of Block 4 capacity that was previously announced on February 26, 2020. All applications submitted for this Group/category after this date and time will be placed on a waitlist as the Block is now closed. At this time there is not a schedule for the opening of a future block of capacity for Group B Large DG. Please refer to the announcement of the Block 4 closing protocol on illinoisabp.com for more details.

Block Closing Protocol

On February 7, 2020, Group B Small DG Block 1 reached its capacity and the soft-close procedure for that Block was initiated and ended on February 21, 2020. Please see the February 7, 2020 announcement and the February 22, 2020 announcement for more details.

With the approval of the Agency’s Revised Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan (“Revised Long-Term Plan”) by the Illinois Commerce Commission on February 18, 2020, the procedure for subsequent closing of blocks has changed. For Group A Small DG Block 1 (and for Groups A and B Small DG Block 2), the soft-close period is now seven days rather than fourteen.

For Groups A and B Large DG Block 4 (and Groups A and B Small DG Block 3) a new closing protocol is now in effect. Rather than a soft-close period, blocks will close when the block volume is filled, and any projects submitted after that time will be put on a first-come/first-served waitlist for the Group/category, pending an analysis of available funds and the verification of the eligibility of projects that applied to the Program prior to them.

The details of how this protocol will be implemented include:

  1. On the calendar day that an application is submitted whose capacity meets or exceeds the remaining capacity in Large DG Block 4 or Small DG Block 3 for a given Group, any project applications received on or prior to 11:59 PM Central Prevailing Time that day that exceed the remaining capacity of that block will be selected until a 5 MW cap is reached. For the application that crosses the 5 MW cap, the entire project will be allocated Block 4 pricing, with all subsequently submitted applications placed on an ordinal waitlist. If the application that crosses the 5 MW cap is part of a multiple-project batch in which all projects in that batch are time-stamped as having been submitted at the same time, such that the determination of which individual application in that batch was the one that crossed the 5 MW cap is not possible, the Approved Vendor may select which applications within that batch will remain under the 5 MW cap, with the remaining applications in that batch placed on the waitlist for that Group/category. (The Revised Long-Term Plan includes a change to the Part I submittal process that will be implemented in approximately one month. It will allow for the submittal of Part I applications as projects rather than batches for Approved Vendors that already have an ICC-approved batch. This protocol will be updated at that time.)
  2. As early as practicable on the following business day after a block’s capacity has been met or exceeded by a submitted application, the Program Administrator will post an announcement at illinoisabp.com and email both the Approved Vendors and the illinoisabp.com mailing list that the capacity for that block was met, on which date it was met, and that all applications submitted after that date will be placed on a waitlist once their application fee has been received by the Program Administrator.
  3. An Approved Vendor that submitted an application and initiated its application fee after the final block of a Group/category has reached capacity, but before the announcement of block closure, may request, within 10 business days after application submittal, removal from the waitlist and a refund of the application fee for the submitted application(s).
  4. Consistent with current practice, an application is considered submitted and eligible for Program Administrator review, as well as eligible to maintain its position on a waitlist, only with the Program Administrator’s receipt of the application fee within 10 business days following application submittal.
  5. In the case of newly available capacity resulting from a withdrawal from the Program (such as a project application that had been allocated to a block being found ineligible), an application will be selected off of the waitlist in the order of application submittal provided that sufficient capacity ahead of that application has withdrawn to accommodate the entire project.
  6. As soon as practicable, the Program Administrator will notify an Approved Vendor when an application that it has submitted is selected off the waitlist. The Block Capacity Dashboard on the Program website will be updated daily with the most recent total capacity of applicant projects present on a Group/category’s waitlist.
  7. Applications that are submitted with payment after the closure of a block has been announced will be added to the waitlist for that Group/category combination in order of application submittal. If a project is accepted off the waitlist prior to a future block opening (Block 5 for Large DG, Block 4 for Small DG) it will receive a REC price at the price of the last open block.

Group B Small DG Block 1 closed

Group B Small DG Block 1 is closed as of February 21, 2020 at 11:59 PM Central Prevailing Time and Group B Small DG Block 2 is now open.

The Program Administrator announced on February 7, 2020 that Group B Small DG Block 1 had reached capacity. Per Section 1(C)(3)(b) of the Program Guidebook, this Block was held open for an additional 14 calendar days.  Any Group B Small DG applications submitted as part of a paid batch on or prior to February 21, 2020 at 11:59 PM Central Prevailing Time were allocated to Block 1, and thus will receive Block 1 pricing, provided that the application fee is paid within 10 business days following batch submittal. Any Group B Small DG applications submitted as part of a paid batch after that time will be allocated to Block 2.

The capacity allocated to Block 1 during this 14-day soft-close period impacts the capacity available for Block 2. Any applications submitted as part of a paid batch during the soft-close period that exceed the original 52 MW capacity of Group B Small DG Block 1 will be deducted from the original capacity of 52 MW for Group B Small DG Block 2. For example, if an additional 2 MW of capacity is allocated during the soft-close period (for a total of 54 MW of Block 1 capacity), Group B Small DG Block 2 will have an opening capacity of 50 MW, not the original capacity of 52 MW.

The Program Administrator will make a subsequent announcement with the preliminary calculation of the capacity available for Group B Small DG Block 2, factoring in the capacity allocated to Block 1 during its 14-day soft-close period. The final calculation of the opening capacity of Group B Small DG Block 2 will not be known until at least 10 business days have passed from the closure of Block 1. The Program Administrator will announce the opening capacity available for Group B Small DG Block 2 at that time. Capacity allocated to projects in Group B Small DG Block 1 that are subsequently withdrawn will be added to Group B Small DG Block 2 capacity.

Group B Small DG Block 1 capacity reached

The Illinois Power Agency (“IPA”) and Program Administrator announce that Block 1 for the Group B, Small Distributed Generation (“DG”) project category (i.e. DG projects up to and including 10 kW) has been filled. Block 1 will remain open for 14 days per the Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan’s “soft closing” provision that blocks will be “held open until the later of (i) 45 calendar days after opening, or (ii) when the block is filled (in which case the block would be held open for an additional 14 additional calendar days after it is filled).” This can also be found in Section 1(C)(3)(b) of the Program Guidebook.

Any Group B Small DG applications submitted as part of a paid batch on or prior to February 21, 2020 at 11:59 PM Central Prevailing Time will be allocated to Block 1, provided that the application fee is paid within 10 business days following batch submittal. Once the 14-day window of the soft closing has concluded, Block 1 will be considered closed and Block 2 will open. Any Group B Small DG applications submitted as part of a paid batch after February 21, 2020 at 11:59 PM Central Prevailing Time will be allocated to Block 2 and if approved will receive Block 2 REC pricing.

The Program Administrator will make another announcement on the date of the opening of Block 2 for Group B Small DG.

Please note that this protocol will be followed by the Program Administrator if Group A Small DG category also reaches capacity on or before February 18, 2020, on which date the Illinois Power Agency’s Revised Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan will be approved by the Illinois Commerce Commission (“ICC”). Starting on February 19, 2020, the block closing process will be governed by the IPA’s Revised Plan (see Section 6.3.2) as approved by the ICC.