IEC61850 companion specification for electrical substation automation systems


Supervision and Control Systems act in various fields of industrial activity, but in almost all cases an important part is dedicated to distribution of energy through a plant or an industrial process. Most of the time, energy in the form of electricity is generated and then supplied via an electrical distribution network before being consumed by electrical consumers.

Interoperable Electric Network Management Systems (ENMS) are frequently required as electrical network components may be supplied by a large set of vendors. One of the main standards for electrical process is IEC 61850.  As described later in this document, IEC 61850 not only defines communication protocols; it defines, among other important features, a standardized data model with strong and unambiguous data semantics. The data model by itself conveys a large amount of information about the electrical aspect of an industrial plant.

Technical Content: 61850-OPC UA Goals

In order to have coordinated control over devices of many technological generations and designs within an industrial plant, gateways are often needed. A major challenge for these gateways is to be able to transfer information fully and accurately.
While IEC 61850 is focused on electricity generation, transmission, distribution, and consumption, OPC UA is more and more used in non-electrical industrial process activities. It is clear that users require integration of the electrical aspects of a plant with non-electrical aspects.  This document is focused on defining what and how data is exchanged between these parts of an industrial plant.
OPC UA’s modelling capabilities make it possible to transfer data between different systems without losing the semantics of data. Thus this companion specification document describes how IEC 61850 data can exchanged using OPC UA data modelling and services.

Latest news

OPC UA – IEC 61850 Companion specification will take benefit of latest “IEC 61850 7-7 Machine-processable format” documentation produced by IEC organisation. This new enhancement will foster the maintainability of the companion specification and it will ensure good compliance after each update of source documentation, by allowing large automated updates.


The document has been posted as a release candidate and has been approved by the TAC, however, it still needs validation by a prototype product implementation.

Companies behind

  • 4CE Industry
  • ABB
  • ARC Informatique
  • Ascolab
  • Beckhoff Automation
  • Beeond
  • B&R
  • CAS
  • DS Interoperability
  • GE
  • Grid Cloud Systems
  • Mitsubishi Electric
  • OPC Labs
  • OtaCo Engineering
  • Schneider Electric
  • Siemens
  • Softing



Chairman Raymond Borscia, Schneider-Electric, email: raymond.borscia[at]