In this paper a reference architecture is proposed for the development of a control and management innovative system of distribution networks supporting advanced functions for the monitoring, protection and remote control of the network components. In this regard, the chosen main targets have identified a system infrastructure characterized by a high degree of modularity and expansion made up of functional units based on standard architectures of an industrial kind. Special care has been taken to define a communication architecture suitable to assure both the reliable functioning of the network telecontrol equipment and the bi-directional communication between the managing body and users. This can be essential, in particular, for the implementation of policies of energy differentiated tariffs depending on the demands of the users themselves, on the real network performances at a certain time, and on the actual energy market state. The use of this system is expected to increase the plants' effectiveness and to attain the new strategic targets induced by the changed electric market scenario. Copyright (c) 2005 John Wiley T Sons, Ltd.
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