Erlangen, Germany --- (METERING.COM) --- September 20, 2010 - In January 2011 Siemens Energy will open up its previously proprietary distribution line carrier (DLC) communications protocol, which utilizes the low voltage network as a metering communications channel, enabling utilities the opportunity also to deploy meters from other manufacturers within its automated metering and information system (AMIS).

By opening up its DLC communications protocol Siemens is setting a milestone in the direction of open communication with smart meters and takes the first step toward establishing a new standard in metering communications via power line, the company said in a statement.

The DLC communications application is based on spread spectrum signal modulation, which makes communications practically insensitive to interference signals and distortion. The protocol thus ensures hitch-free functioning of smart metering solutions within smart grids. The application also can handle all changes in the physical communications parameters of a low voltage supply network such as signal damping, noise, network disturbances, signal coupling and changes in the network configuration. It thus enables almost full availability of this communications technology. Furthermore, the application offers sufficient scope for the integration of future smart grid functions and enables the incorporation of an existing network automation structure based on IEC protocols.

With the increase in the feed-in of renewables-based power into the grid and the associated rise in the need to control consumption directly on the power consumer side, smart meters will increasingly develop into multifunctional smart grid components. To be equipped for the future Siemens recommends the deployment of meters based on a digital signal processor (DSP) architecture. This hardware design also allows the activation of future developments in smart grid communications protocols. It also allows further refinement of the metering function of the meter itself, for example the metering of grid parameters and communications functions within households. This takes place without having to directly access the meter via a software download from a central point.

The DLC communications protocol has been implemented as part of smart metering and smart grid solutions at a number of utilities including Energie AG in Austria, Arbon Energie in Switzerland and EnBW Ostwürttemberg Donau Ries AG (EnBW ODR) in Germany.