Energy data standards come of age

Dana Bacciocco, Associate Editor

While energy industry players are trading and conducting business data exchanges without universally accepted data standards, companies are coming together to promote open standards to eliminate inefficiencies and reduce transaction costs.

“The creation of standards for energy trading will be another brick in the road to complete business integration and collaboration within energy. The companies that adopt standards-based communications and use collaborative technologies realize strong returns on their investment while lowering barriers to entry,” according to Excelergy co-founder and vice president of Advanced Development, Kevin Monagle.

“As a member of OASIS we are an advocate of groups dedicated to the creation of open standards transactions and Internet-based collaboration,” said Monagle. OASIS, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, is a non-profit, international consortium that creates interoperable industry specifications based on public standards such as XML and SGML, as well as others that are related to structured information processing.

The Energy Trading Standards Group (ETSG) is also organizing a consortium whose goal is to develop data standards to automate the sale of wholesale energy and improve information sharing between energy trading companies. The open consortium was set up in September 2000 by Caminus Corp. and HoustonStreet Exchange Inc. The group has gained interest from nearly 40 major industry players since its inception, according to David Markowitz, vice president sales operations at Caminus.

Thus far, no technology has emerged to supersede XML technology for ETSG goals. The technology committee is working on a beta version of the XML standard for physical power transactions, and hopes to set up a Web site with information and opportunity for feedback from the industry at large.

“Standardization is a key ingredient in explosive growth of competitive markets,” Monagle said. With standards in place, competitive edge comes not from a monopoly on information, but from economic value-added services and functionality.

Excelergy is a significant proponent of industry-wide acceptance of XML standards for open electronic collaboration and data exchange between energy companies. Excelergy has also developed proprietary products such as eXACT, a secure, scalable, flexible and transparent solution to automate and manage collaboration among trading partners.

Excelergy became an early sponsor of OASIS (http://www.oasis-open.org) and was the first company to contribute XML standards for the restructured retail energy industry with the introduction of XML-PIPE (Partner Interface Process for Energy) in 1999 (http://www.xml-pipe.org).

XML-PIPE.ORG is a member-sponsored organization established to further the development and acceptance of PIPE in the retail energy industry. PIPE is a set of XML schemas for electronic business transactions. PIPE facilitates the exchange of transactions among energy industry trading partners.

Monagle can be reached at kevin.monagle @excelergy.com. Markowitz can be reached at dmarko@caminus.com.

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