MP102B Power Outage Alerts triggered by an OTA firmware upgrade - enduring solution

Proposer Matthew Alexander
Lead Analyst Bradley Baker
Date raised 18/12/2019
StageRefinement Process
Implementation date Unknown
Latest update The DCC have now completed the Impact Assessment. SECAS will review the document with the Proposer before returning to the Working Group.

What is the issue?

Experience has shown that implementing an Over the Air (OTA) firmware update on some Electricity Smart Metering Equipment (ESMEs) generates a Power Outage Alert (POA). This is because when some ESMEs activate a new firmware version it results in an interruption of the power supply to the Communications Hub (CH) (power to the CH is supplied by the ESME). If the power supply for the CH is interrupted for more than three minutes, then the CH must send a POA (the AD1 Alert).

The Data Communications Company (DCC) then sends the AD1 Alert to the relevant Distribution Network Operator (DNO), who can’t tell whether there is a real issue with the power to the premises or whether it was just a firmware upgrade to the ESME. As DNOs need to respond to each POA, a POA initiated by an OTA firmware update will cause a DNO to put in place systems to check every POA to understand if it relates to a genuine power outage.

Investigations during the Refinement Process of MP102 ‘Power Outage Alerts triggered by an OTA firmware upgrade’ found the scale of the issue affecting existing meters much greater than initially envisaged. This could result in a lengthy lead time for implementation where meter Manufacturers could potentially still produce Devices that cause erroneous Power Outage Alerts (POAs). Therefore, the Working Group agreed that there should be two separate solutions to address the issue;
• MP102A - a Technical Specifications document change for meter Manufacturers to abide by for ESME produced after implementation, and
• MP102B - an enduring solution for meters that are currently installed.

What is the solution?

The Proposed Solution is for the DSP to build a mechanism that will suppress POAs which may have been caused by a firmware update to L+G ESME Devices.
The DSP will track firmware activations on tracked L+G ESME which are present on the L+G GUID list of Devices known to cause the issue and then suppress POAs from the L+G ESME for 30 minutes. L+G has advised that from the point the firmware activation starts, the ESME takes 12-15 minutes to complete the upgrade. For the impacted Devices, the power would be cut to the Communications Hub during that 12-15-minute period. L+G added that 30 minutes is a reasonable number to adopt as this would allow for any outliers and any scenarios where the meter clock was a few minutes out of sync on a scheduled activation.
In instances where a User may future-date a firmware activation request, the DSP will track the execution time specified within the SR 11.3 ‘Name’ firmware activation request as the firmware activation time. If a POA is received from the Communications Hub on the same Home Area Network (HAN) as that ESME within 30 minutes of the recorded firmware activation time, then the DSP will suppress the AD1 Alert.
The solution requires the DSP to build a mechanism to store the GUID List of the applicable Devices. The incorporation of the GUID list eliminates the need to track firmware activation of Devices that work as desired. As a result, the memory needed to hold the tracking data for all L+G Devices will be reduced. However, the DSP has advised that the GUID List will require allocation of additional memory.

Who is impacted?

Networks Parties
Other SEC Parties

What SEC documents are affected?

SEC Appendix AD 'DCC User Interface Specification'


22 Apr 2020
Modification divided during Refinement Process
02 Jun 2020
Working Group
04 Nov 2020
Working Group

Modification documents

MP102B DCC Preliminary Assessment
MP102B Refinement Consultation
MP102B Request for information responses
MP102B request for information
MP102B Business Requirements v0.4
MP102B June 2020 Working Group summary
MP102B Modification Report v0.9
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