3 Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your CAISO Remote Intelligent Gateway

If you are a conventional power plant larger than 20 MW or a renewable generator larger than 1.5 MW and you connect to the California ISO-managed grid (the yellow region on the map below), chances are you communicate with the ISO over a small ruggedized computer called a Remote Intelligent Gateway (RIG).

CAISO Grid

The CAISO Grid

 

Responsible for sending real-time and revenue data to the ISO and receiving bid awards in return, a RIG is like a power plant’s cash box and should be treated accordingly.

In general, RIGs last for years with little maintenance. However, there are several scenarios in which it may be necessary to consider an upgrade or replacement. In this post, we highlight the top three.

 

 

 

 

It may be time to upgrade or replace your RIG if:

 

1. You have a legacy system that looks like this: 

 

Legacy Hathaway RIG - Front (left) and Back (right)

Legacy Hathaway RIG – Front (left) and Back (right)

 

The first Remote Intelligent Gateway system for relaying information between power generation plants and the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) was installed in 2000 by Hathaway Corporation. Hathaway Corp. has since gone out of business and the Hathaway RIG is no longer being manufactured, nor are their products supported by a successor company.

As a result, power plants with a Hathaway RIG must go through the challenge on an annual basis of finding someone familiar with the Hathaway system and scheduling them to come on-site to re-certify the RIG with CAISO. More importantly, if the RIG goes down it will need to be replaced entirely, a process that takes longer than the two-week grace period CAISO provides before revenue is impacted. As such, sites with Hathaway RIGs bear a large annual cost in terms of time, money and risk of lost revenue. 

 

2. Your operating system is no longer supported by the manufacturer

 

Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft

Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft

 

As of April 8, 2014, Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft and many IT departments are requiring company systems that operate on XP be upgraded. Additionally, many vendors no longer provide support for their XP-based systems. As a result, power plants with RIGs on XP or other unsupported operating systems who experience trouble with their systems may find themselves in a bind, unable to obtain timely maintenance and support without footing an enormous bill, or unable to find maintenance and support at all.

 

3. Your system is unstable

 

Many customers come to DC Systems with concerns that their existing RIG is unstable and losing communication to CAISO more than they’d like. This downtime might not (yet) be long enough to affect revenue directly but requires immediate attention every time it happens.

 

If any of these problems sound familiar, it may be time to upgrade your RIG.

 

With a DC Systems RIG:

 

  • Our software is utility-grade and highly reliable.
  • We use standard Windows operating systems on generic hardware, both of which can be supported by us or any number of other vendors, if needed.
  • Our service package includes periodic upgrades of the OS and RIG software to ensure that the RIG always complies with IT policies and best practices.
  • We provide remote and onsite support, if needed, and can offer a standby RIG in inventory for immediate replacement.
  • We manage the renewal process remotely.

 

Questions about your RIG or the CAISO Interconnection process? Contact us at sales@dcsystems.com to learn more

 

Legacy Hathaway RIG (left)  replaced by DC Systems RIG (right)

Legacy Hathaway RIG (left) replaced by DC Systems RIG (right)