​​​The traditional electric distribution co-op is changing. The evolution of the grid with increased distributed energy resources, home energy management, and storage, requires not just effective two-way power flow but also two-way data flow. One of the challenges for distribution cooperatives to successfully manage and adapt to this complex system is to incorporate 1) data analytics 2) interoperable systems 3) and secure communication networks. All three must holistically rest on a solid foundation of cybersecurity and function within a framework that promotes a culture of safety for the employees and the member-consumers.

Present investments in systems (AMI, OMS, AVL, SCADA, etc.) must be considered within this new distribution framework. The time for each system being evaluated on its own merit is past. Your distribution systems are now part of an integrated network. As such, the interaction of the systems and the effective transmission of data back-and-forth are critical to operations, and interoperability standards are the key to success.

MultiSpeak®, the leading interoperability standard and integration solution that enables software systems to “talk” to each other without expensive custom integration, is the foundation of the Distribution System Network. It is already used by more than 800 electric utilities in more than 21 countries worldwide. By building your co-op’s systems using the MultiSpeak® specification, you are working with an eye toward the future AND saving your member-consumers additional costs that would otherwise be spent on custom integrations.