Important Updates to IEC 61850 Conformance Testing

The UCA is implementing changes to the IEC 61850 certification testing program to follow IEC requirements that only one revision of a standard can be valid at one time. Edition 1 was officially withdrawn by the IEC in December 2012 when Edition 2 became the current revision of the IEC 61850 standard. The UCA has therefore decided to phase out the issuing of Edition 1 only certificate and transition to Edition 2 conformance test certificates. The new Edition 2 conformance tests will include an option for certifying backward compatibility for Edition 1. This will allow new test certificates to cover both Edition 1 and 2 as required by utilities that install new equipment into existing Edition 1 systems or mixed systems (containing Ed. 1 and 2 devices).        
The end-of-life date for Edition 1 conformance testing and certification is targeted for December 31, 2020. However, the actual date may change depending on when updates to Edition 2 conformance tests are published with procedures for testing Edition 1 backward compatibility. Please read the official press release from the UCA for many more details

Announcement of End-of-Life for IEC 61850 Edition 1 Certification 

The IEC 61850 testing groups, within the UCA IUG, have concluded that the UCA IUG must enforce testing by the IEC position that there is one valid revision of a standard at any given time. Testing to a withdrawn standard is not consistent with the IEC position and would lead to supporting testing and certification of Edition 1, Edition 2, Edition 3, etc. 
Simultaneously long into the future. In the review of the current IEC 61850 QAP Addendum, it has become clear that this was never the intent. Furthermore, the testing groups recognize that an abrupt and immediate transition of testing from one version to another would be very disruptive to all impacted parties. The current IEC 61850 QAP Addendum is lacking adequate guidance for the process of updating the conformance testing procedures in synchronization with the standard. Therefore, to ensure a timely transition to new versions of standards while supporting a stable and growing market for IEC 61850 devices and applications the IEC 61850
QAP Addendum is being updated to define a migration path for how testing procedures are synchronized to new versions of the standards as follows: 

  • A guaranteed minimum period from the publication of a major revision of the IEC 61850 standard. Since the IEC process for releases is a 5-year interval, the current proposal is that conformance testing of a specific major release of 61850 should be guaranteed to be no less than 10 years. It is thought that this guidance allows utility stability for project planning. 
  • Upon the publication of a new release, which causes the withdrawal of the previous IEC standard, the conformance test procedures will need to be updated to not only test the conformance to the new standard but also backward compatibility to the previous standard and thereby provide utilities the assurance that new devices can be integrated into older systems protecting utility investment. 
  • Once the revised test procedures are available, and the 10-year minimum has been achieved, the UCA Conformance Testing for the older standard would cease
  • Conformance certificates shall indicate if the certificate is being issued based on withdrawn standards.

Edition 1 Conformance Testing is currently outside of these criteria being proposed because the withdrawal date of Edition 1 of the standard was December 2012 and the publication date of Edition 1 was May 2005. The end-of-life for UCA Edition 1 Only Conformance Testing andCertification is targeted for December 31, 2020, and would still require that the backward.  
compatibility testing is available thereafter.   

This announcement is being provided so that the information needed for utility project planning and to protect utility investment in deployments is based upon older versions of the standard. What is being proposed does not mean that older versions of devices would not be available, only that newer versions would be conformance tested to the current version and for compatibility with the older version. 

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