MP102A Power Outage Alerts triggered by an OTA firmware upgrade

Proposer Matthew Alexander
Lead Analyst Bradley Baker
Date raised 18/12/2019
StageImplemented
Implementation date 29 November 2020
Latest update This modification was implemented on 29 November 2020 as part of the November 2020 SEC Release.

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 to formalise the agreement within the SEC to ensure that a POA is not generated when an OTA firmware upgrade takes place. Amendments will be made to SMETS2 sections 4.3, 5.4, 5.10 and 5.16. This will ensure that the obligations are applied to single phase ESME, twin element single phase ESME, poly-phase ESME and Gas Smart Metering Equipment (GSME). The document changes will state that under no circumstances will a smart meter cut the power to a CH for more than three minutes when an OTA firmware upgrade takes place. Once implemented, meter Manufacturers will have to produce Devices that are compliant with the Technical Specifications and will therefore resolve the issue going forwards.

Who is impacted?

Networks Parties
Other SEC Parties

What SEC documents are affected?

SEC Schedule 9 'Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications'

Timeline

18 Dec 2019
Draft Proposal raised
02 Jan 2020
Discussed at Change Sub-Committee
17 Jan 2020
Converted to Modification Proposal
01 Apr 2020
SEC Monthly Working Group
22 Apr 2020
Modification divided during Refinement Process
06 May 2020
SEC Monthly Working Group
11 May 2020
to
01 Jun 2020
Refinement Consultation

Modification documents

MP102A Conclusions Report
23/09/2020
MP102A Modification Report Consultation responses
08/09/2020
MP102A Modification Report Consultation
17/08/2020
MP102A Refinement Consultation responses
08/06/2020
MP102A May 2020 Working Group summary
18/05/2020
MP102A Legal Text
12/05/2020
MP102A Business Requirements
12/05/2020
MP102A Modification Report
12/05/2020
MP102A Refinement Consultation
11/05/2020
MP102 April 2020 Working Group summary
08/04/2020
DP102 Industry Comments
03/01/2020
DP102 Problem Statement
18/12/2019
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