IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - January/February 2016 - 128

in my view

Bruce Wollenberg, Jay Britton, Ed Dobrowolski, Robin Podmore,
Jim Resek, John Scheidt, Jerry Russell, Terry Saxton, and Chavdar Ivanov

a brief history
the Common Information Model

T

The hisTory behind The Common information model (Cim) is one
of an industry searching for solutions
to problems that had long been recognized by vendors and electric utility
customers alike. The efforts of many
groups went into the solution, and often
these groups completed one stage of
the solution and another group picked
up the work with little continuity.
The first such group to take up the
effort was the energy management
system Architecture Task Force. This
task force, under the ieee Power engineering society's (Pes's) Working
Group 73-3, had as it purpose to think
about and make recommendations on
the energy management system (ems)
architecture of the future.
some history of the ems field is necessary to understand why this task force
was deemed necessary. A classical ems
usually made use of computers that had
the ability to respond to interrupts. These
so-called "real-time" systems (also known
as process control computers) would read
data presented by communications systems, perform calculations, and present
data on screens and map boards. There
were usually two such computers so that
one was instantly available if the other
failed. Problems arose when these computers were called upon to perform large
calculations using real-time data while
still responding fast enough to the interrupts when new data or events required
attention. The result was a splitting of
responsibilities into more than one comDigital Object Identifier 10.1109/MPE.2015.2481787
Date of publication: 30 December 2015

128

ieee power & energy magazine

puter. early efforts used mini computers
to do the interrupt driven real-time tasks
while large scientific mainframe computers did the large calculations.
The chief frustration with the ems
industry was expressed in an early task
force report. According to John scheidt,
"The current practice of spending three to
six years designing and
procuring an ems only
to have it last 12-14 years
has been viewed with justifiable suspicion by utility management." often,
none of the software developed for one ems was
transferrable to the next
one, even when purchased
from the same vendor.
data structures changed
each generation of the
ems, and this necessitated rebuilding the database
from scratch. similar issues were encountered
with respect to displays and map boards.
even more frustrating was the fact that
once a vendor had been selected, the customer was locked into that vendor's solutions. no independent software could be
purchased and installed, as was becoming the practice in data processing where
many vendors often could supply software
to run on a computer system to supply a
given application.
The members of this original ieee
task force were
✔ John scheidt, chair
✔ robert Guberman
✔ mike ropertson

Jerry russell
howard daniels
robert Green
Paula Traynor
James resek
mark sola Cruz
Walter Johnson
bruce Wollenberg.
The ems Architecture Task Force met at
Pes meetings roughly
from 1982 to 1989. A
final report was written,
and the task force was
disbanded.
The next, much larger,
effort was headed by the
electric Power research
institute (ePri) project,
the Control Center Applications Program interface
(CCAPi), which started
in the early 1990s. There
were engineers who
had been on the ems
Architecture Task Force who worked on
the ePri CCAPi, but the ePri CCAPi
was not seen as an ems Architecture effort. This can be seen in a news release in
T&D World Magazine in 1999. its purpose
was not to invent a new ems architecture,
rather, it focused on developing an "open
application environment." in this effort,
ePri said that the "...initiative is developing 'plug compatible' applications in the
electric power control center environment
and facilitating interoperability among
a broad spectrum of utility applications
✔
✔
✔
✔
✔
✔
✔
✔

Data structures
changed each
generation of
the EMS, and
this necessitated
rebuilding the
database from
scratch.

(continued on p. 125)
january/february 2016



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IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - January/February 2016 - Cover3
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