Even in mid-2013, American utilities continued to rely on more than 80+ million “dumb” electricity metering devices for data acquisition on electricity consumption. Most of the installed analog metering devices were manufactured in the United States. Smart metering technology is also largely developed and manufactured in the U.S.; at the very least, it is tested in the U.S., and its final assembly is completed here. There are several more suppliers of automated meters than there were of electromechanical meters. Here is Newton-Evans outlook for smart meter deployments in each of three key usage segments.
For more information about U.S. electric utility equipment manufacturing capabilities see our recent report, “American Manufacturing and Systems Integration Capabilities for Power Grid Modernization” on our reports page.
The recent Newton-Evans survey of the Worldwide Market for Substation Automation and Integration programs in Electric Utilities: 2014-2016 reveals the increasing trend in North America of encrypting substation communication protocols. Here are a few facts about this topic:
1) Out of 59 North American electric utilities responding to the survey question, “What protocols do you use within the substation, between substations, and from the substation to the external host or network?” forty-five said they currently use DNP3 (serial) and 28 said they use DNP3 LAN (TCP or UDP) within the substation. For communication from substation to substation, 16 said they use SEL protocols and 21 said they use a version of DNP3. For communication from substations to the external host or network most respondents use a version of DNP3.
2) When asked the follow up question, “Are these protocols encrypted?” sixty-nine percent (41/59) said “No.” This seems like a lot, but the Newton-Evans survey has found that every few years more and more North American utilities are using encryption.
Are substation communication protocols encrypted?
3) Utilities were then asked, “If your protocols are encrypted, where do you employ encryption?” a) Inside the substation b) substation to substation c) substation to master (choose all that apply). Of the 15 North American utilities responding to this question, 14 indicated they encrypt protocols from substation to master, while only 3 use encryption within the substation and 2 from substation to substation.
Purchase the full report from our reports page for more detailed information on substation protocol use, encryption, and substation communications.