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OASIS: Networking on the Grid

Fortnightly Magazine - November 1 1996

issue of correctly computing ATC as a problem utilities will address using different approaches. But as OASIS servers become operational, everybody will have to look into what they are posting on the system. Why? Because there's no unified approach on how to calculate ATC in the industry.

Another hot spot is that some regional servers may not be sized for peak loads. What kind of delays will there be, especially at peak emergency conditions? "Maybe there's a major outage and everyone's trying to access the system to secure short-term contracts for access on transmission," he says. Will the turnaround time on the server be sufficient for conducting business or will people rely on telephones?

The third item also sits on the utility side. Will utilities be equipped to fold OASIS in as an integral element of their operations?

Technology is part of the answer, but as standardization comes and users download information, will the process for handling a request for capacity be handled systematically?

"That whole process to respond to a request is a process not well understood at many utilities, or they don't have procedures defining it," Ipakchi says.

Security may be a fourth issue. Ipakchi says there's enough

"firewalling" for security, and that the boundary between the operation of a transmission line and the scheduling of commerce on the Internet shouldn't pose a problem.

The issue of an authorized user requesting access and getting that access granted and confirmed will define the process in the utility operation.

"That whole process is something utilities have to pay attention to," says the ABB executive. "And my feeling is, in the short run, that we will have some mishaps at utilities. They may keep it under cover and not publicize it, but soon everyone has to formalize how they're going to handle these things."

Blackouts would be the ultimate failure. But providers granting more capacity than they actually have seems much more likely. Also, a provider could miss a request and fail to process it, possibly ending up in litigation.

Peterson at Cegelec ESCA Corp., one of three vendors on the JTSIN project, sees OASIS activity as the biggest unknown.

The level of activity on transmission schedules, interchanges, and deals is 10 times what it was five years ago, he points out.

"We're familiar with utilities' level of activity and how many schedules they have, and the increases, but I think here it's how ready people will be on the power marketing side and how they'll play the game.'

What's different from the past is that nearly all the energy movement has been utility controller to controller, dispatcher to dispatcher, on a cost basis. Utilities and marketers are gearing up for trading floors and incentives. Now there will be more negotiating on price. "It's not going to be cost-based. It's going to be 'What can I get it for?'"

That's what OASIS will be about. And something far more similar to an airline reservation system then providers and users may want to believe. t

Joseph F. Schuler, Jr. is an associate editor of