ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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New Global Communications Protocol Standards Issued

Documents Affect Time-Sensitive Data Exchange Between International Electric Power Systems

New York, Jun 26, 2002

Increasing competition between energy utility companies due to the deregulation of energy markets has increased the need for standards in this area to ensure the reliability of interoperable systems. Recently released international protocol standards are an essential step toward ensuring the exchange of time-critical data between electric power control centers around the world.

The standards in question refer to two documents from the Telecontrol Equipment and Systems series published by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), a global organization that prepares and publishes international standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies in which ANSI is the national member body via the U.S. National Committee (USNC). Together they form a communications protocol used around the world for the exchange of time-critical control center data through wide-area and local-area networks. Developed by IEC Technical Committee (TC) 57, IEC 60870-6-503, identifies the protocol services used to exchange data while EC 60870-6-802 defines data exchange object definitions.

Brent Brobak, member of the USNC Technical Advisory Group to IEC TC 57, explained, "The two standards form a complete interoperable data exchange protocol between control center data acquisition systems." Both publications contain provisions for supporting both centralized and distributed architectures and cover processes such as real-time data indications, control operations, time-series data, scheduling and accounting information, remote program control and event notification.

The protocol is based on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) document, ISO 9506: Manufacturing Message Specification, which the power utility community has adopted for use throughout the world. IEC indicates that the protocol will likely be utilized in European countries, the United States and Australia where major electric power networks exist.

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