COMFEDE Standard Contributes to Improving Smart Grid Reliability

The interoperability standard defining a Common Format for Event Data Exchange helps utilities integrate and analyze fault and disturbance conditions from multiple vendors’ devices.

IEEE, a professional association that advances technology for humanity, has announced the availability of the IEEE C37.239 standard, which defines a Common Format for Event Data Exchange (COMFEDE) among power systems. By helping utilities efficiently integrate and analyze event data from across multi-vendor equipment, the interoperability standard is designed to contribute to improving the reliability of the Smart Grid.

Traditionally, event data collected in transmission, generation, distribution, and utilization of electrical energy have been in widely disparate, proprietary formats. IEEE C37.239 defines an easily interpretable, XML-based format for files containing event data, such as sequence of events or fault-summary reports collected from these power systems. This standardized format enables the seamless exchange of such data among operators, relay technicians, and maintenance personnel. Additionally, users of one proprietary system can integrate their data with that from other systems.

“In this way, IEEE C37.239 will help utilities enhance and automate the analysis, testing, evaluation, and simulation of power systems and related protection schemes during fault and disturbance conditions, in order to inform adjustments that enhance grid reliability,” said Pierre Martin, vice chair of IEEE Power System Relaying Committee (PSRC) Working Group H16, which developed the IEEE C37.239 standard. “Moreover, COMFEDE can accommodate records made by IEC 61850-compliant devices and is designed to be a generic format that could be extended and used in other application areas, such as apparatus condition monitoring, amongst others.”

In August 2009, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) established an initial set of priority actions plans for developing standards necessary to build an interoperable Smart Grid. IEEE C37.239 addresses NIST PAP14: Transmission and Distribution Power Systems Model Mapping.

“IEEE has been at the forefront of the Smart Grid movement since its inception, and we have worked closely with NIST to facilitate coordination across the global Smart Grid interoperability standards framework to expedite Smart Grid-related standards work,” said Judith Gorman, managing director, IEEE Standards Association. “IEEE C37.239 is a perfect example of IEEE’s ability to rapidly recognize and respond to an emerging Smart Grid need.”

IEEE has more than 100 standards and standards in development relevant to the Smart Grid, including more than 20 named in the NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards.

IEEE C37.239, sponsored by the IEEE Power & Energy Society, is now published and available for purchase at or through the IEEE Xplore Digital Library at

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