How Smart Grid Gateway Enables Critical Communications

With an increasing number of utilities rolling out smart meter initiatives, keeping electricity safe, reliable, and affordable is critical. The first step towards building a smarter grid involves implementing a technology platform that can allow two-way communication between IT applications and physical smart meters. Smart meters and various IT applications must communicate information to one another regarding outages, electric usage data, device connect status, and smart meter events. The scope of such integrations continues to grow as the footprint of smart meters and enterprise applications expands in utilities.

To enable SGG integrations, there are prebuilt integration services and adapters delivered by major software vendors in the utility space, such as Oracle. Using Oracle Utilities Smart Grid Gateway (SGG) adapters, utilities now integrate multiple advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) systems that may use different technologies, protocols, and data formats to share meter data with heterogeneous enterprise applications. Smart Grid Gateway adapters effectively decouple downstream applications from advanced metering infrastructure, enabling adoption of easy-to-adapt emerging technologies. SGG abstracts business processes from specific implementation details and acts as a data communication bridge in the overall enterprise landscape, providing flexibility and extensibility throughout the lifecycle of a smart meter implementation.

Utilities host hundreds of enterprise applications to run day-to-day business processes, such as Oracle Utilities Customer Care & Billing, Meter Data Management, Operational Device Management, Network Management System, and many more. SGG integrations support various business processes. For example:

  1. To bill the customers, utilities need electricity usage data. SGG feeds meter readings into the Meter Data Management (MDM) system and downstream billing system.
  2. If a customer moves to a new address, SGG enables utilities to connect or disconnect smart meters remotely, alleviating the need to send a crew to the customer’s premises.
  3. SGG integrations help utilities keep data in sync across their applications and head-end systems.
  4. SGG reports critical outage and restoration events from network management systems to utility applications in real time.
  5. SGG provides a foundation and implementation patterns to utilities to build custom integrations for various business processes.
  • SGG Diagram

SGG adapters handle large volumes of data from an ever-increasing list of smart devices. Utilities are now providing sophisticated user interaction to customers to track their electricity usage behavior. Now, customers can track near-real-time usage data. In the background, SGG integration services bring over interval (monthly, daily, etc.) electricity usage data from the head-end system and feed this interval data into utility applications. The head-end system provides usage data in various formats such as comma separated values (CSV) format, binary format, XML messages, etc. SGG integration services use various parsing mechanisms to parse large volumes of incoming data into individual usage readings before sending to downstream applications such as the MDM system. Utilities are also using SGG integrations to bring over weather data such as temperature, humidity, wind and precipitation to overlay with electricity usage, giving customers complete insight into their usage behavior per weather trends.

SGG adapters and integration services play a very important role in providing visibility across the electric grid. There are prebuilt SGG integrations between a utility’s network management system and enterprise applications to assist with outage detection, outage verification, and outage restoration. When Oracle Utilities Network Management System (NMS) processes trouble calls from customers, NMS issues meter ping commands to the head-end system via SGG integrations to capture meter status information. In cases of severe thunderstorms, NMS sends meter ping requests in batches to the head-end system via SGG integrations to ensure there is no power outage in a particular service territory. In cases where a power outage is detected, once the outage is restored, NMS uses Smart Grid Gateway integrations to reach the head-end system to ensure smart meters are restored by sending power restoration real-time events. The SGG platform also provides integrations and adapters for non-AMI systems to process scalar usage data to downstream billing applications for traditional manual meters.

Customer information is captured in a utility’s customer information system, which needs to be synced to downstream applications. Smart Grid Gateway integrations and adapters help utilities sync customer information across enterprise applications and systems such as Oracle Utilities Meter Data Management, Network Management System, etc. Similarly, utilities use prebuilt integrations to sync meter information and service point details and install event messages across multiple applications.

Smart Grid Gateway provides Advanced Development Kit (ADK) tools and resources to build custom integrations for utilities. Utilities may not have prebuilt integrations for all business processes or specific requirements, in which case they can leverage message patterns and foundation objects, development resources provided by SGG ADK tools to build a specific integration. Enterprise application vendors like Oracle provide both prebuilt integrations and adapter development kits to develop custom integrations.

Utility software vendors provide a wide range of integration services to meet requirements for day-to-day business processes. Smart Grid Gateway integrations help utilities reduce time, costs, and resources needed to implement business processes throughout their smart meter initiative efforts, and expedite time to market. Some of the major integrations I’ve seen and worked on most frequently include:

  • SGG integrations to load scalar and interval electricity usage data: Oracle provides prebuilt integrations such as SGG-D3-USAGE and SGG-D5-USAGE adapters to load usage data from the head-end system to the Meter Data Management application. In this case, D3 stands for Landis + Gyr and D5 stands for Itron MV90 head-end systems.
  • SGG integrations to load near-real-time AMI events: Oracle provides prebuilt integrations such as AMI Event Subscriber and SGG-D3-CIM-EVENT adapters to process advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) events in real time such as power outage/restoration, low voltage, tamper/diversion, etc.
  • SGG integrations to support Oracle Utilities Network Management System tasks: Oracle provides prebuilt integrations such as NMS-SGG adapters to process power status updates and meter pings in real time to detect and verify power outage and restoration for a particular service territory or premises.
  • SGG integration to carry out smart meter commands: Oracle provides device communication commands such as Connect Disconnect, Commission Decommission, Demand Reset, On Demand Read, and Status Check for real-time communication between enterprise applications and head-end systems (Landis + Gyr, Itron, Sensus, Elster).
  • SGG integrations to sync data across applications: Oracle delivers integrations such as ODM-MDM and CC&B-MDM prebuilt integrations to sync meter information and service points and install event attributes and customer information across applications, namely Meter Data Management (MDM), Operational Device Management (ODM), and Customer Care and Billing System (CC&B).

Smart Grid Gateway (SGG) integrations help utilities streamline smart meter initiatives in a more effective way. This includes reducing costs and complexity of data stream and business processes by introducing seamless integrations across enterprise applications, head-end systems, and smart devices. Red Clay Consulting has over fifteen years of experience implementing and building Smart Grid Gateway integrations and adapters for utilities across the globe. Learn more about our System Integration & Implementation Services.


About the Author:

As a Senior Consultant at Red Clay Consulting, Veeresh Hawalkhod is responsible for developing and configuring integration solutions tailored to clients’ varying needs for usage, event data upload, and device communication commands. Veeresh brings over nine years of experience in the integration space, mainly focusing on Oracle middleware products. As a subject matter expert in Oracle Fusion Middleware, he has experience designing, developing, and deploying custom integrations for enterprise distributed applications.