Rosslyn, VA, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- February 7, 2011 - The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has announced the Smart Grid Interoperable & Conformant™ (SGIC™) testing scheme to promote testing for products and devices based on the smart grid standards identified by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP).
 
In so doing, NEMA’s aim is to provide a forum where smart grid stakeholders can validate the interoperability of individual grid elements on a consistent, broadly agreed upon, industry-wide basis.
 
The first standards targeted under the scheme will be components of the ANSI C12 Suite, a package of standards that provides requirements and performance criteria for electricity metering. Because meters are already being deployed, their testing under SGIC is designed to promote the major points that define the smart grid adoption process – testing and certification, governance, harmonization, and backward compatibility, all while protecting participants’ intellectual property rights.
 
The design of the NEMA scheme is intended to conform to the appropriate ISO (International Organization for Standardization) guides for testing and certification, and to be compatible with the recently-released Interoperability Process Reference Manual (IPRM) from the SGIP Testing and Certification Committee.
 
In making the announcement, Al Scolnik, NEMA vice president of technical services, said that the government’s objective of ubiquitous access by vendors is achievable, while striving to provide a better plug-and-play experience for the consumer.

“While product testing has been in place for decades, interoperability testing is a relatively new concept to the electrical products market. We need to ensure, up front, that a variety of devices are compatible before they are deployed” Scolnik said.

With a certification scheme in place, utility companies will be better able to support those investments and meet demands for equipment that fulfills interoperable business needs, while simultaneously promoting the confidence for manufacturers to build products that will be accepted in the market.