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Grid Strategy 2011: Distribution Management System Data Visibility

As utilities invest in the enabling technologies of the smart grid, they have been left without the necessary technology to manage the newfound complexity of the distribution system. Previous generations of distribution management systems (DMSs) have not fully met utility requirements and have had somewhat limited functionality. Some utilities have been disappointed with current DMS implementations, while others have deferred the investment until the technology matures. This report surveys smart grid–enabled electric utilities for their current DMS technology status and capabilities with respect to distributed energy resources, device visualization, analysis, and system integration. Additionally, DMS vendors were surveyed for the capabilities of their current DMS offerings and those in coming evolutions. Utility survey responses indicate increasing interest and investment in DMS technology.

Having experienced previous generations of DMS technology, utilities are now looking for more. Until recently, DMS evolution has been slow, leaving some DMS products lacking functionality. Modern DMSs have matured significantly; however, currently offered DMSs do not fulfill all of the utilities' objectives, but vendors continue to evolve their products to meet developing technology needs. Comparison of utility intent with vendor products demonstrates the still-evolving marketplace. This report describes utility and vendor plans for DMS functionality and the gaps between them.

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