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Product Abstract

Common Information Model Primer: Third Edition

Product ID:3002006001
Date Published:01-Jul-2015
Sector Name:Power Delivery & Utilization - Distribution & Utilization
Document Type:Technical Results
Price:No Charge

This Product is publicly available

   6.17 MB - Adobe PDF (.pdf)


The Common Information Model Primer explains the basics of the Common Information Model (CIM) standards to help operations professionals better understand how electric systems are modeled in the applications they use. CIM standards currently have three primary uses: 1) to facilitate the exchange of power system network data between organizations, 2) to allow the exchange of data between applications within an organization, and 3) to exchange market data between organizations. The Second Edition of this primer was updated with a case study that follows a utility through its journey of discovery, learning, and application of the CIM for grid modeling and integration. Questions were added to the end of each section for the reader to reinforce learning. This Third Edition includes a section on inexpensive tools for applying the model described in the narrative.


The CIM was developed by EPRI in North America and is now a series of standards under the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) (IEC 61970, IEC 61968, and IEC 62325). The CIM was initiated as part of EPRI’s Control Center Application Program Interface (CCAPI) project. Originally, the aim was to provide a common definition for power system components for use in 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. IEC standard 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—IEC 61970-301, IEC 61968-11, and IEC 62325-301—are collectively known as the CIM for power systems.


To present the CIM in a format that will particularly benefit individuals lacking experience with standards, UML models, or system integration.


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 performed in pursuit of a doctorate degree, and feedback from practitioners who have used the CIM for systems integration.


Beginning with a historical perspective, this primer describes how the CIM originated and grew through the years. The functions of various working groups of Technical Committee 57 of the 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 concepts that were developed previously are applied to the complexities of the electric grid.

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

Applications, Value, and Use

Anyone who is not an expert in the CIM or UML will find this primer extremely helpful in understanding the leading integration technology for back office applications in the utility industry. IT professionals will find this work to be a valuable foundation to build upon in using the CIM for application integration and data management.


Newer Version Of
  • 3002001040-IntelliGrid Common Information Model Primer: Second Edition
2015 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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