The importance of Data Management in Future Grids aknowledged


EDSO for Smart Grids –

The European Distribution System Operators (EDSO) for Smart Grids published a report titled “Data Management: The role of Distribution System Operators in managing data”. EDSO believes Distribution System Operators (DSOs) are best placed for data management given their experience in collecting, validating, managing and providing data, and encourages regulators and policy makers to take into account their key principles on data management.

In 2012/2013, the European Commission (EC) created the Smart Grid Task Force, which sketched three models for data management: “DSO as a neutral market facilitator”, “independent central data hub” (a third party manages the data) and “data access point manager (a decentralised solution where data are stored at the smart meter and accessed directly market players)”. A follow-up study showed a slight preference for the DSO model. A decision has however not yet been made.

EDSO for Smart Grids is in favour of the “DSO as a neutral market facilitator” scenario, claiming that DSOs are better at fulfilling the main objectives of data management, i.e. clear roles and responsibilities, easy access to information, non-discriminatory data storage and processing, data privacy, simplicity and robustness, and reasonable costs for consumers.

Creating a new third-party data platform would decrease simplicity and robustness: a transition time of several year to set up a platform and to gain experience would be required, as well as more communication, increasing the risk of transmission failure. A new data management body would raise costs and require the need for an appropriate regulatory framework. DSOs on the other hand just need to upgrade their infrastructures and they are already regulated.

EDSO also explains the Dutch system where a new company is created by the DSOs to operate the ICT system, i.e. Energy Data Service Netherlands (EDSN). The system evolved from bilateral connections, to a hub based system, and finally into a central agency because of robustness, simplicity and costs. One could argue that one data hub managed by DSOs has similar costs and risks of transmission failure compared to a central hub managed by a regulated new third party..

Currently, DSOs support the electricity market with data collection and processing by administrating metering points, providing information for billing, supporting supplier switching, facilitating the settlement process, providing information to local authorities, cooperating with Transmission System Operators (TSOs), and monitoring, planning and operating their networks. In the future, DSOs could check whether flexibility used for portfolio optimisation is physically possible: “Is a generator able to provide the requested power and can the network channel the capacity?”. At the consumer side, DSOs could signal the beginning and the end of demand response actions, estimate demand response, and report the estimations back, according to EDSO.

Another option for demand response, not mentioned in the rapport, could be to measure and to control appliances and generators individually and directly, and to implement low level control that disallows demand response when there are problems on the grid (e.g. the voltage being too low or high). In this way, the response would be known instead of estimated and DSOs would not need to simulate cases to see if the grid is able to channel the capacity.

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