Knoxville, TN, and Raleigh, NC, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- November 16, 2010 - The U.S. Smart Grid Interoperability Panel’s (SGIP) Smart Grid Testing and Certification Committee (SGTCC) has presented a plan on the testing and certification process for systems and devices to ensure interoperability.

Six months in the making, this process includes three key elements:

  • An interoperability test assessment tool (used to complete a detailed evaluation of the present state of test programs based on priority smart grid standards identified by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST) 
  • Agreements on the use of recognized industry standards for testing agency and certification body qualification 
  • An Interoperability Process Reference Manual (IPRM).

The IPRM, which is the main deliverable from the SGTCC deliberations, provides key criteria and recommendations for testing and certification authorities. These criteria and recommendations, based on industry best practices, were developed after thorough analysis of current industry program services related to smart grid, as well as those in related industries. SGTCC committee members involved in the IPRM span a range of stakeholders including utilities, test labs, certification agencies, and product suppliers. A strong cross-section of viewpoints was sought in building a consensus on the recommended practices. 

“The IPRM will help us achieve the goal established by NIST of enabling smart grid systems and devices to successfully interoperate,” said Rik Drummond, SGIP governing board member and chairman of the SGTCC. “Our framework provides a set of common expectations based on international standards. It will help to assure that test programs are performed with high quality, consistency, and attention to detail, thereby giving the end user confidence in selecting and deploying interoperable smart grid products.”

Pilot program assessment, supported by SGTCC members and based on the IPRM, is under way. Testing and certification authorities will initially participate in the SGIP program by implementing the IPRM practices into their program operations, eventually transitioning towards third-party accreditation of their conformance to these practices.

The UCA International Users Group (UCAIug) has become one of the first adopters of the process, with the completion of a preliminary assessment of its IEC 61850 based test program, and the Group has agreed to implement the interoperability test program recommendations.

Several additional program assessments are also underway by the SGTCC.