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Product Abstract

IntelliGrid Common Information Model Primer: Second Edition

Product ID:3002001040
Date Published:16-Oct-2013
Sector Name:Power Delivery & Utilization - Distribution & Utilization
Document Type:Technical Results

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The Common Information Model (CIM) Primer explains the basics of the CIM (IEC 61970, IEC 61968, and IEC 62325). Starting with a historical perspective, it describes how the CIM originated and grew through the years. The functions of various working groups of Technical Committee 57 of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) are described. The process of how an IEC standard is created is also outlined.

The basics of the Unified Modeling Language (UML) are detailed to introduce the reader to the language of the CIM. Then, building on commonly understood objects (basic shapes), the concepts that underline the CIM are carefully built step by step. The reader is then transported into the world of power systems where the concepts that were developed previously are applied to the complexities of the electric grid.

The Second Edition is updated with a case study that follows a utility through its journey of discovery, learning, and then, utilizing the CIM for grid modeling and integration. Additionally, questions have been added to the end of each section for the reader to reinforce their learning.


The CIM is a set of open standards for representing power system components originally developed by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in North America and now a series of standards under the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The standard was started as part of the Control Centre Application Programming Interface (CCAPI) project at EPRI with the aim of defining a common definition for the components in power systems for use the Energy Management System (EMS) Application Programming Interface (API), now maintained by IEC Technical Committee 57 Working Group 13 as IEC 61970-301. The format has been adopted by the major EMS vendors to allow the exchange of data between their applications, independent of their internal software architecture or operating platform. The IEC 61968-11 extends this model to cover other aspects of power system software data exchange such as asset tracking, work scheduling, and customer billing. The CIM for Electricity Markets then extends both of these models with IEC 62325-301 to cover the data exchanged between participants in electricity markets. These three standards, 61970-301, 61968-11, and 62325-301 are collectively known as the Common Information Model (CIM) for power systems and currently have three primary uses: to facilitate the exchange of power system network data between organizations, to allow the exchange of data between applications within an organization, and to exchange market data between organizations.


The objective of this work is to present the CIM to individuals who have no experience with standards, UML models, or system integration. It is written from the perspective of the utility professional who wants to understand the underlying technology being used in their environment or the IT professional who wants a basic introduction on which to build a deeper understanding.


The material contained in this report was accumulated over a period of years from several short courses given on the subject, EPRI archives, careful reading, and understanding of the standards, research in pursuit of one the primary investigator’s doctorate degree, and the feedback from practioners that have used the CIM for systems integration.


The resulting primer synthesizes material from an array of sources to reduce an extremely complex power system model in UML into easily grasped concepts that build one on another.

Applications, Value, and Use

Anyone who is not an expert in CIM or UML will find this work extremely helpful in understanding the leading integration technology for back office applications in the utility industry.

2013 Program 161   Information and Communication Technology
  • Common Information Model (CIM)
  • International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
  • International standards
  • Semantic model
  • Unified Modeling Language (UML)

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