MultiSpeak is a specification / standard that defines standardized interfaces among software applications commonly used by electric utilities. It defines details of data that need to be exchanged between software applications in order to support different processes commonly applied at utilities. The MultiSpeak effort is funded by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a Smart Grid Conceptual Reference Model as part of its Smart Grid Standards Framework and Roadmap. NIST has identified 42 standards to support this vision. MultiSpeak was chosen by NIST as a key standard in the Operations area of the NIST Conceptual Model.[1]

The MultiSpeak Specification is the most widely applied de facto integration standard in North America pertaining to distribution utilities. It is currently in use in daily operations of more than 600 electric cooperatives, investor-owned utilities, municipals, and public power districts in at least 15 different countries.[2] Over 80 software vendors active in the utility industry have joined the MultiSpeak initiative and contribute their experience to refining the standard.

The MultiSpeak standard makes use of three components:

  • Definitions of common data semantics: It contains the details of data that need to be exchanged. Data semantics are documented in the form of an extensible markup language (XML) schema.
  • Definitions of message structure: It defines message structures to support the required data interchanges. Web services calls with specific structures are used for real-time exchanges.
  • Definition of messages required to support specific business process steps: This details the business process steps to accomplish the data.

Comparison between CIM and MultiSpeak

  • CIM covers transmission, generation and distribution whereas MultiSpeak is distribution focused.
  • MultiSpeak is focused to meet the needs of electric cooperatives in the US, while IEC 61968 / CIM is focused towards all utilities in the international marketplace.
  • IEC 61968 is transport independent while MultiSpeak is transport specific. SOAP messages using HTTP, TCP/IP sockets connections directly between applications, and file-based transfers are used for transferring data in MultiSpeak.
  • Both standards use XML Schema for definition of messages and focus on interfaces between applications, as opposed to data structures internal to applications.
  • Message headers can be readily mapped between MultiSpeak and IEC 61968 but mapping of message content between the two is more complex.

Harmonization between MultiSpeak and 61968

In June 2008 MultiSpeak and WG14 announced an initiative to establish two sets of standards that will lead towards harmonization of their respective specifications. After completion of the same, this will provide a mapping between MultiSpeak Version 4.0, IEC 61970 Version 13, and IEC 61968 Version 10. Two sets of standard work planned for the same are listed below:

  • IEC 61968-14-1-3 to 14-1-10 [3] — Proposed IEC Standards to Map IEC61968 and MultiSpeak Standards.
  • IEC 61968-14-2-3 to 14-2-10 — Proposed IEC Standards to Create a CIM Profile to Implement MultiSpeak Functionality.

MultiSpeak Versions

  • MultiSpeak version 5.0 was first released 2/18/2015.
  • MultiSpeak version 4.1 was first released 6/30/2010.
  • MultiSpeak version 3.0 was first released 10/20/2005.

See also


  1. National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards, Release 1.0, NIST Special Publication 1108, January, 2010.
  2. MultiSpeak Webpage, accessdate=2013-02-03.
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