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Participant Technical Reference Manual FAQ

Interface
  1. Will there be a download button for the files on the IESO website?
  2. Will the IESO consider including the IE browser to interface with their applications?
  3. Can a 28.8 modem be used for the connections?
  4. Does the IESO treat any participant as a trusted network, or is there a firewall between us, on their side?
  5. Will the IESO accept files with ".CSV" extensions?
  6. Will the IESO always be using Eastern Standard Time or will it also use Central Time and DST?
  7. The regional setting on our current business machines reflect the short date format of yyyy/mm/dd. Will the IESO support this format?
  8. Is the PARTICPANT_ID that should be provided by a single participant to the IESO the same for ALL the types of Bids?
  9. If a transmission file is submitted more then once, what happens?

Dispatch Message Exchange
  1. How does a participant know they need to integrate directly with the IESO?
  2. Will Message Exchange run on the dispatch workstation?
  3. Will instructions for each facility be received every 5-minutes or only changes to facility operations?
  4. Are dispatch messages the only messages being delivered by Message Exchange?
  5. How does the Message Exchange module located at a participant site deal with telephone or fax messages?
  6. Are both ICCP and Web-based clients supported?
  7. Can a market participant opt for ICCP-based or Web-based dispatch messaging at his/her own discretion?
  8. Is the intent that a market participant can write its own client?

Participant and Dispatch Workstation
  1. What is the difference between a participant workstation and a dispatch workstation in terms of the intended use?
  2. As both a generator and consumer, do we have separate bid and dispatch workstations?
  3. Can bidding be done over the frame relay link rather then through the Internet link?

Participant Networks
  1. What is the difference between real-time network and the private participant network?
  2. Is the private participant network guaranteed in terms of availability?
  3. For either Internet or private network, are back up mechanisms recommended or required?
  4. What is the customer premises equipment for connectivity to the private network?
  5. Will the IESO also install the private network to the Disaster Recovery site?
  6. What is the mechanism to notify IESO to start communicating to the D/R site registered IP address?
  7. Is NAT being performed by the IESO or will participants need to do it at their end (if the source IP address is an unregistered internal address)?
  8. Is a registered IP address at the IESO side of this private network?
  9. How does a participant know which network they need to use?
  10. If a participant has a firewall in place what ports must be enabled?

Interface

  1. Will there be a download button for the files on the IESO website?

    On the public web site, you will download files as you would any other text file. When accessing files via the MIM, you will have the ability to specify the name and location to save a particular file.

  2. Will the IESO consider including the IE browser to interface with their applications?

    Yes, the IESO is currently working on a project to support Internet Explorer for the Market Participant Interface. This work is currently scheduled for Q2 2005.

  3. Can a 28.8 modem be used for the connections?

    Yes, although some performance problems may be encountered. It is recommended that a higher speed modem be used (e.g. 56K).

  4. Does the IESO treat any participant as a trusted network, or is there a firewall between us, on their side?

    The IESO will have a firewall between all market participants and the IESO.

  5. Will the IESO accept files with ".CSV" extensions?

    All text files will be accepted (including .CSV) and contents validated for Bidding Applications, Submitting Data and Using Template Files.

  6. Will the IESO always be using Eastern Standard Time or will it also use Central Time and DST?

    As per the Market Rules, Chapter 1, section 7.1.1.13, a reference to time:

    1. without the qualification "EST" is a reference to eastern time, which is the prevailing eastern standard or eastern daylight time in the Province of Ontario;
    2. followed by the qualification "EST" is reference to eastern standard time in the Province of Ontario; and
    3. without the qualification "am", "a.m.", "pm", or "p.m." is a reference to time based on a 24-hour clock.

    The IESO will not provide for synchronization of a participants system to the IESO’s time synchronization subsystem. This subsystem is a GPS-based TrueTime server reference clock. The IESO's MIM system will publish the server's time to all market participants. The MIM system time-tags the receipt of all data submissions and requests received from the market participant, and logs the event to the MIM log and/or database.

  7. The regional setting on our current business machines reflect the short date format of yyyy/mm/dd. Will the IESO support this format?

    The IESO will only support the format DD/MM/YYYY. The Participant Technical Reference Manual (PTRM), Section 2.2.1 Operating System, states that "When Windows is used as the operating system, the preferred Short Date format is yyyy/mm/dd. Other Short Date formats may be used provided the year placement is set to yyyy. Go to the Control Panel Regional Settings to make this adjustment. The delivery dates used by the Netscape Communicator or Internet Explorer browser in the submission of bids are generated from this date setting and value."

  8. Is the PARTICPANT_ID that should be provided by a single participant to the IESO the same for ALL the types of Bids?

    YES, there is one Participant ID per market participant, however there may be many User IDs per Participant ID. Each specific user ID Information will be incorporated into a digital certificate for implementing access control. Communication of this User ID Information will need to be co-ordinated between the IESO and Market Participant at the time of registration for each digital certificate. It is critical that the correct User ID information be included in each certificate.

  9. If a transmission file is submitted more then once, what happens?

    In such a case, the header information is compared and if it is identical, only the last bid submission will be used although all bids will be kept for 90 days. The header information may consist of the following:

    • Financial Market: <Bid_Type> and <Hour>
    • Energy: <Resource_ID>, <Hour>
    • Bilaterals: <Participant_GEN>, <Participant_LOAD>, <Resource_GEN>, <Resource_LOAD>, <Hour>
    • Schedules: <Hour>
    • Operating Reserves: <Resource_ID>, <Reserve_Class>, <Hour>
    • Capacity Reserves: <Resource_ID>, <Hour>
    • Validations against the Master File on fields such as: <User_ID>, <Bid_Type> (Not for the Financial Market), <Tiepoint_ID> for exports and imports, etc.

Dispatch Message Exchange

  1. How does a participant know they need to integrate directly with the IESO?

    The Energy Management Systems (EMS) supports the real time and study applications that the IESO uses to control the Bulk Electricity System (BES). There will be no direct market participant interaction with these facilities except through AGC, data acquisition via SCADA and RTU, and the message dispatch system. All these applications will be under IESO program control.

  2. Will Message Exchange run on the dispatch workstation?

    Yes, the dispatch workstation (client) will be a PC for the purposes of the implementation provided by the IESO. The IESO will deliver the block 4 ICCP dispatch message or the Web dispatch message, as the case may be, to the market participants’ node.

  3. Will instructions for each facility be received every 5-minutes or only changes to facility operations?

    Dispatch messages will be incremental instructions only; i.e. only changes will be sent every five minutes.

  4. Are dispatch messages the only messages being delivered by Message Exchange?

    No, the facility will be able to send/receive text messages for the recording/notification of abnormal operating conditions or contingencies.

  5. How does the Message Exchange module located at a participant site deal with telephone or fax messages?

    The Message Exchange module located at the participant site does not deal with telephone or fax messages. The use of fax or phone is viewed as stand alone and used for emergencies only (i.e. failures of the dispatch message facilities).

  6. Are both ICCP and Web-based clients supported?

    Yes, the existing message exchange function makes use of the ICCP Block 4 capabilities to send dispatch instructions. However, as this may be cost prohibitive for some market participants, the IESO has committed to provide a Web-based message exchange using the https protocol as an alternative to the ICCP. For additional information on Web-based Message Exchange, see the Dispatch Message Exchange section in the PTRM on the IESO website at: www.ieso.ca/imoweb/pubs/ptrm/ptrm_ptrmManual.pdf or the Web-based Message Exchange Guide at: www.ieso.ca/imoweb/pubs/usrGuides/Web-MessageExchange_sysUserGuide.pdf

  7. Can a market participant opt for ICCP-based or Web-based dispatch messaging at his/her own discretion?

    Yes, the market participant can choose either of the two alternatives. However, since the ICCP based dispatch message exchange may be cost prohibitive, “smaller” participants may find it more economically viable to choose the Web-based message exchange.

  8. Is the intent that a market participant can write its own client?

    The ICCP client will need to be provided by the market participant. How this is implemented locally, however, is up to the participant. It is only important that the IESO receives the correct information in the correct format.

Participant and Dispatch Workstation

  1. What is the difference between a participant workstation and a dispatch workstation in terms of the intended use?

    The message dispatch workstation is connected to the Real Time Network, which supports the real time operation of the power system. The participant workstation is connected to the IESO over the public Internet or over a dedicated private network to support market and commercial functions such as settlements, market information publishing, meter data access, etc. (refer to Part 1 and 2 of the PTRM).

  2. As both a generator and consumer, do we have separate bid and dispatch workstations?

    It is expected that the dispatch and bidding applications will operate satisfactorily on the same workstation. This would presume that the bid and dispatch functions are performed at the same location. In such cases, the hardware, software and power supply requirements will have to meet the specifications for dispatch workstations (see Part 6.2, section 1 of the PTRM).

  3. Can bidding be done over the frame relay link rather then through the Internet link?

    Yes, if a frame relay connection is required at the same location for the purpose of dispatch messaging, it is expected that the frame relay link can also be used for bidding purposes. The participant will be required to cover the incremental cost (if any) of adapting the link for bidding purposes.

Participant Networks

  1. What is the difference between real-time network and the private participant network?

    The real-time network supports the operation of the BES and is intended for communication to RTUs and dispatch workstations. The participant network supports the commercial side of the operation of the electricity industry such as bidding, meter readings, etc.

  2. Is the private participant network guaranteed in terms of availability?

    The private participant network is designed to be highly reliable. However, as with any commercial telecommunications service, failures can and will occur. Participants are encouraged to consider alternative access and/or contingency plans.

  3. For either Internet or private network, are back up mechanisms recommended or required?

    The IESO has put in place redundancy to the point of having no single point of failure. Market participants should take this into consideration and establish alternate paths or contingency plans to accommodate their needs.

  4. What is the customer premises equipment for connectivity to the private network?

    The termination equipment will be either a Motorola FRAD/Router and separate DSU/CSU, or a CISCO Router/DSU combination. This equipment will be provided by the IESO and be maintained by the IESO. The demarcation point will be the router that connects the market participant's internal network. The market participant MUST provide the registered public IP addresses on the participant side of the network. A dial line will need to be provided by the market participant for router maintenance.

  5. Will the IESO also install the private network to the Disaster Recovery site?

    Yes, the IESO will install the private network to the Disaster Recovery (D/R) site. The cost of the private network is charged back to all market participants using the private network. A Market Participant that implements a D/R site will pay for two links.

  6. What is the mechanism to notify IESO to start communicating to the D/R site registered IP address?

    From the IESO perspective, both primary and D/R sites are online and the IESO will respond to the site that initiated the traffic.

  7. Is NAT being performed by the IESO or will participants need to do it at their end (if the source IP address is an unregistered internal address)?

    NAT will not be performed by the IESO. It is the responsibility of the market participant to provide registered addresses to the IESO.

  8. Is a registered IP address at the IESO side of this private network?

    Yes, the IESO will use its registered address at the IESO side of the private network.

  9. How does a participant know which network they need to use?

    This is up to the discretion of the market participant, based on their perceived need for availability and performance. The Internet may not be as available or have the performance of the private network.

  10. If a participant has a firewall in place what ports must be enabled?

    Port 80 - HTTP TCP/IP and Port 443 - HTTPS TCP/IP need to be enabled. Port 389 also needs to be enabled to support LDAP. Port 829 is required to be open to the IESO Certification Authority systems to support the Certificate Lifecycle System software used to initialize and create digital certificates.

 
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