Requirements Engineering: Policy Recommendations for the Interface Between Utility Advanced Metering Infrastructure and the Home Area Network


Project Background

The client, a state agency responsible for developing energy policy, wanted an analysis of use cases being developed by a consortium of utilities and vendors for use in specifying the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) systems, including the interface with home area networks (HAN) and home automation systems.†† Based on informal reviews of the consortiumís use cases, the client felt there were assumptions that might limit customer choice and privacy in the AMI-HAN interface, and limit vendor choice of communication technologies used in their systems.The client wanted to use the results of the analysis in developing policy recommendations for an AMI-HAN interface that would support customer participation in Demand Response without compromising their privacy and support an open market for HAN vendors.


LíMonteís tasks were to identify a project plan for accomplishing the clientís goals, manage the project and

produce regulatory use cases and policy recommendations for the AMI-HAN interface.



The Process

After setting up a small task force of client and consultant subject matter experts, Diane Pepetone, LíMonteís lead requirements engineer, facilitated a project chartering session with them to define the project scope and project metrics, and identify a plan of action, which started with the analysis of the consotrium use cases.††


From her analysis, Ms Pepetone developed Venn diagrams to represent how the consortium use cases would affect all the key players.The interaction between the spheres of the customer, the vendor and the utility made it clear that there were areas of overlap that implied a level of control by the utilities that was of concern.††Using this as a jumping off point, Ms. Pepetone led several sessions with the task force to develop regulatory use case scenarios that represented desirable options for customers and vendors as well as utilities.


From the regulatory use case scenarios, Ms Pepetone developed right-obligation activity models which made explicit what rights and obligations were implied in the regulatory use case scenarios.†† After several rounds of reviewing right-obligation models, making changes to the regulatory use cases and deriving the new right-obligation models, the client had a set of regulatory use cases and rights and obligations that could be used in policy recommendations.



Project Outcome

This project introduced the client to the use of requirements engineering for defining policy.Using the Venn diagrams proved very powerful in representing overlaps of authority and control between the utility, the customer and the vendor.The use case scenarios allowed the task force to work out what options they felt should be offered in the AMI-HAN interface, and the right and obligation modeling showed them how those options would affect each of the key players.


Although not in the original project plan, the client decided that results warranted preparing a research report, which Ms Pepetone prepared and presented to state energy commissioners, state public utility commissioners, representatives of the major utilities and other key stakeholders.