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Utilities Get "Defense"-ive

How cutting-edge military technologies can help solve some of the industry’s most critical issues.

Fortnightly Magazine - June 2006

reduce the time it takes to set up training exercises and analyze training results, are being applied at one ISO to help simulate the impact of tariff changes and bad data on the billing settlement process.

Billing Simulator

The New York ISO is using a proprietary billing simulator driven by a complex rules engine. The simulator provides a tool to analyze market-rule changes and problems affecting a customer or segment of customers, and helps to expedite the billing-settlement process. Additionally, the simulator enables the ISO to understand the market impact of customers having financial difficulties.

In mid-2003, the ISO faced several types of billing issues: changes in the financial status of a market participant; data accuracy; rules and rule changes; and software. In each of these cases, the ISO needed to respond rapidly to determine the potential financial impacts. Those market conditions were the catalyst for the billing-simulator project.

The billing-simulator architecture includes 146 settlement use cases, or rules, and it runs up to five times faster than the ISO’s current billing system while maintaining 100 percent accuracy. The ISO is in the process of modifying its production billing systems to use the simulator rules engine and create the foundation for the organization’s next-generation billing and settlement system.

Automated Meters Learn From Military Resource Sharing

Most of these energy technology efforts have been aimed at conservation. Energy consumption is at an all-time high, and concerns over dependence on oil and coal, and availability of resources in general, make it clear that consumption habits must be altered to have a lasting impact on the energy market.

This situation, along with a focus on cost savings, is pushing utilities toward automated meter infrastructure (AMI), but these systems pull information from millions of different sources that must be funneled into a single data repository.

The military has a similar challenge when it comes to mission operations involving joint forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines) or coalition forces (mission partners such as Britain in Iraq). Each has its own systems, so interoperability would allow commanding officers to react much more quickly to enemy operations, and carry out missions more efficiently at a lower level.

Time Critical Targeting (TCT) is a military operation that involves quick deployment of firepower for a time- sensitive or just-discovered target. Determination of the best solution to eliminate a target has been hampered historically by a lack of system interoperability. Cross Service Weapon Target Pairing (XSWTP) was developed to address this ongoing problem.

This service uses an infrastructure building block known as a Multi- Channel Service Oriented Architecture (MCSOA) to enable systems to share information via the Web. From a practical standpoint, this service allows a military commander to survey quickly the attack solutions, choose one, and deploy it. XSWTP enabled interoperation among three systems that were not designed to communicate with each other. MCSOA supports the quick Web enablement of legacy systems and enables dynamic collaboration. These two attributes add up to a shared situational awareness (SSA).

MCSOA can help solve similar issues related to automated metering. It’s part of a