By: Ron Chebra, VP of Grid Modernization
865-218-4600 x8108



Our industry seems to find a never-ending source for developing, using and abusing TLAs, FLAs and MLAs (three letter, four letter and multiple letter acronyms) which can lead up to a cacophony of unpronounceable sounds like DERMS, (which can sound like germs to those who are unfamiliar with the marketplace). Many utilities are building on the momentum to have better monitoring, management, control and insight into Distributed Energy Resources.  This raises the question: “If the DERM germ becomes viral, should one see a Dermatologist?”

What complicates this even more, is that DERMS (which is not to be confused with Demand Response Management Systems DMS) or DMS (Distribution Management System)) are typically separate applications that are subsets of an Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS).

ADMS also can include modules for Outage Management Systems (OMS). Within the Distribution DMS it has its own applications, such as Fault Location Isolation and Service Restoration (FLISR) and Voltage, Voltage Ampere Reactance (Volt/VAR) Optimization and Control (VVO/VVC). These tools can help support Conservation Voltage Reduction (CVR) efforts by strategically orchestrating substation Load Tap Changers (LTC’s) and Switched Capacitor Banks (SCB) based on near-real time information provided by intelligent meters that are part of an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI).  The AMI system is also providing billing and consumption information to a Meter Data Management System (MDMS) which interfaces with a Customer Information System (CIS) and can be used for Measurement and Verification (M&V) of response to a Demand Response call.  Most meters also provide a last gasp message to inform the OMS of customer outages.

So….imagine someone not familiar with our industry overhearing a conversation that goes like this: “Our AMI feeds the DMS, DRMS, DERMS, MDMS and OMS while also providing M&V following a DR call. However, instead of a DR call, which may be uncertain, we can do CVR and achieve more targeted relief. AMI also informs DERMS about voltage levels so that VVO can be more effective. The FLISR can also be verified using the OMS and AMI.”

AWCY? (Are we confused yet?)

Although certainly confusing to folks outside of our industry, it is clear that the tsunami of acronyms our industry uses is indeed an attempt to reduce the complexity of our industry – versus making it more difficult. An increasing array of distributed energy resources, regulatory changes and a deeper focus on managing aging infrastructure have all played a part in moving the country towards grid modernization.   These efforts are complex and uniquely particular to each facility, state, regulatory engagement and technology currently in place.   So as the acronyms in our industry continue to grow, we can take that to mean that we are continuing our goal towards a more modernized grid.