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The scope of this work is the selection of a framework for deregulated electricity market communications.

The framework includes a profile of a technical e-business communication architecture for deregulated electricity markets based on ISO/IEC 14662 Information technology – Open-edi reference model and "standardised Internet technologies", notably on XML (Extensible Markup Language) of the W3C (Word Wide Web Consortium) with references to existing or emerging standards or de-facto-standards for global e-business and methods and examples of modelling and messages.

It is important to note that the framework does not define standards and only makes reference to available standards of UN/CEFACT (United Nations/ Centre for Trade and Electronic Business), W3C and OMG (Object Management Group) or such supported by UN/CEFCT within the proposed XML architecture.

It supports the communication aspects of e-business applications in deregulated electricity markets with market participants as customers, traders, power generators (market view only), power exchanges, metering providers, balance responsible entities, network operators (market view only), and system operators (market view only). This aspects deal with messages and services among businesses (B2B) as well as between businesses and consumers (B2C). For business-to-consumer exchanges, however, the specifications define only the services and architecture on the business end, not customer screens or interactions.

EDIFACT and XML solutions are evaluated and migration scenarios from EDIFACT to the proposed XML architecture are provided.


The business operational view includes the market communication aspects of all applications from trading over supply to balancing planned generation and consumption (market view only), change of customer and billing. The process communication of electricity systems for congestion management and ancillary services management and system monitoring and control are closely related to the process and therefore out of the scope.

The specific modelling of regional markets with definition of associated transactions and messages are out of the scope. But methods and tools of modelling and non-normative examples of core models, processes and messages which show how the framework might be used are given.

This work does not include the customisation of generic re-usable core components (models, processes, and messages) for regional markets, but this may be a future standardisation issue.

Specific aims and reasons

The technical standard architecture for electricity markets is more than just an exchange format for data and includes (references B.n.n to the Open-edi reference model ISO/IEC 14662 are given in brackets) a profile with references to existing or emerging Standards of UN/CEFACT, W3C and OMG:

  • A standard mechanism for describing a Business Process and its associated information model (B.2.2).
  • A mechanism for registering and storing Business Process and Information Meta Models so they can be shared and reused (B.2.3).
  • Discovery of information about each participant including:

    • The Business Processes they support.
    • The Business Service Interfaces they offer in support of the Business Process.
    • The Business Messages that are exchanged between their respective Business Service Interfaces.
    • The technical configuration of the supported transport, security and encoding protocols.

  • A mechanism for registering the above mentioned information so that it may be discovered and retrieved (B.3.2, B.3.3).
  • A mechanism for describing the execution of a mutually agreed upon business arrangement which can be derived from information provided by each participant from item 3 above.
  • A standardised business Messaging Service framework that enables interoperable, secure and reliable exchange of Messages between e-business Partners (B.3.1, B.3.2).
  • A standardised business Transport Service framework (B.3.2).
  • A standardised security framework for Integrity, Signature, Authentication, confidentiality and authorisation that can be applied using customised profiles (B.4).
  • A mechanism for configuration of the respective Messaging Services to engage in the agreed upon Business Process in accordance with the constraints defined in the business arrangement.
  • A migration path from the EDIFACT environment and messages to the XML architecture (B.6).

Main interests

With the transition of monolithic electricity supply structures to deregulated electricity markets the function of the markets depend heavily on seamless e-business communication between market participants.

Today EDIFACT messages or propriety HTML and XML solutions based on internet technologies are used. With the advent of global e-business standards by UN/CEFACT based on internet technologies an electricity market specific profile of this standards can be used for regional electricity markets allowing the re-use of proven core components and communication platforms cross markets saving cost and time of implementation.


The electricity market specific framework is feasible because it will be based on ongoing standardisation efforts of UN/CEFACT and OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards ) with the ebXML architecture for global e-business. This arcitecture uses internet technologies (see and (see XML initiative)) and has already big industry support. EbXML is a modular suite of specifications that enables enterprises of any size and in any geographical location to conduct business over the Internet. Using ebXML, companies now have a standard method to exchange business messages, conduct trading relationships, communicate data in common terms and define and register business processes. To a great extent ebXML references already existing standards from W3C and OMG. Development and implementation is going on. All other XML initiatives on the market are not taken into account because they are propriety solutions with no backing of a global standardization body.

Backed by UN/CEFACT and OASIS, ebXML offers a framework that will become an international standard, most likely under the auspices of UN/CEFACT, one of the four de jure standards bodies in the world. Even before ebXML becomes a formal standard, it will likely become a de facto standard as industry groups, individual trading partners and e-business solution providers adopt it.

It is expected that, parallel to the standardisation of ebXML as a product standard, UN/CEFACT and OASIS will also standardize horizontal core components of industry business models and of XML message schemas and messages which may be used for the electricity market. These core components will be stored in a registry/ repository.


The standardization base is up to date and has industry-wide acceptance. The business operational view is clearly separated from the functional service view (IT and communication) and the latter is decoupled from the transport system (HTTP, FTP, SMTP). This separation allows in future technological changes without impact on the total architecture.

Urgency of activity

Deregulated electricity markets have existed for more than a decade but have developed on a fast world-wide scale for only a couple of years. This market needs a specific framework for e-business and migration from EDIFACT or propriety XML solutions to standardised XML messaging. For this reason the framework should be ready in 2002 by the latest.


With the framework the dramatic increase of transaction effort in deregulated markets can be lowered significantly while at the same time speeding up the transactions for the benefit of customers and suppliers.

The framework allows market participants to use globally agreed standards with re-use of core components and communication platforms integrated into their specific environment. The harmonisation effort in big regions consisting of many countries to standardise electricity market communication is lowered a great deal with reference to the intended framework. Vendors are able to implement standardised solutions cross industries in a less costly way and have better means to secure the quality of there implementations.

Protocol and message conversions can be avoided.

Without an international agreed electricity market specific framework propriety solutions may be implemented without cross sharing of experience, core components and platforms leading potentially to higher cost and lower quality of service.

The use of ebXML as a basis ensures the flexibility, modularity, ease of implementation and international acceptance that is required.

Regulation and harmonisation

The framework is subject to legal and security aspects of e-business and electricity market rules which may be different from country to country or region to region.

The market modelling depends on the market rules of the country or region. A incomplete list may include the legal and regulatory framework, technical market rules (network access, balance management, schedule management, congestion management), identification schemas of market participants and e-business objects, metering rules (service and access to metering values), grid rules (operation), distribution rules (operation), load profiles (synthetic and analytical). The model has to comply with these rules and must include all market participants and transactions to allow seamless communication.

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Updated : 2002-05-03