MCG Energy is excited to share with our clients the recent enhancements to our energy software, and discuss what the future roadmap looks like for our Control Area Scheduling System (CAS), Energy Accounting System (EAS) and Hosted Data Services (HDS) applications.
MCG Energy Software Enhancements
Recent changes at MCG Energy have converted each product into a modular based application system.
Modular programming refers to a software design approach that highlights the division of a program’s functionality into self-contained, interchangeable modules. Each module encompasses all the required elements to execute a specific aspect of the desired functionality. This conversion allows for more development efficiencies providing end users with a more uniform interface experience between applications.
Looking ahead on MCG Energy’s roadmap, users will have more single sign on options to all core energy applications. Logging in to CAS, users will see a new look, showing the surface benefits of the modular-based distribution upgrades, setting the stage for new reporting enhancements expected to be brought over from the EAS application. Also taking advantage of the modularized functionality, EAS will soon feature a Dashboard Map Tool Display from CAS.
HDS also has new tools as well as a new user interface and database architecture. This will make it possible to offer customer maintained cloud syncing once all older API versions are made current. The most recent release of HDS can also take advantage of any modules in EAS, CAS or IAM.
Now that MCG Energy has modularized applications, code can easily be shared between them with a single development effort. Both CAS and EAS modules are in production and IAM’s modular development is completed and will be available in the next release.
Modularized Application Benefits
A modularized system means common screens and the code behind them can now be updated once and then quickly shared between applications for uniform analytical functionality. For example, IAM, CAS and HDS have the ability to search for tags and no longer require developing the same code multiple times for users to have the same function in different applications.
Roadmap for Modules
With each application in its own modular package, next on the roadmap for MCG Energy is to divide these application modules into smaller, more logical packages. Sharing a module’s code updates to each application can be done in a relatively short timeframe and in a small release to the end users. For example, modules like the dashboards or tag screens can be upgraded and only that module will be included in a release instead of re-releasing the entire application for every upgrade.
Single Sign–On (SSO) Enhancements
MGC applications will have enhanced single sign-on capabilities using a SAML implementation for all current customers in the first quarter of 2024. New MCG Energy customers will automatically have the SAML SSO capability right away.
MCG Energy encourages software feedback as we strive to improve our systems. You can use this form to contact us.
Control Area Scheduling System Enhancements
MCG Energy’s Control Area Scheduling System (CAS) is a fully featured, multi-level interchange and scheduling system that provides users with an all-encompassing system for transmission reliability management. The CAS module integrates with other MCG Energy applications to provide a comprehensive solution for scheduling, tracking, and monitoring, so users have the information they need for immediate decision-making.
With the latest CAS enhancements, users can quickly and efficiently:
- Manage checkouts
- Calculate and track inadvertent
- Adjust schedules to match limits
- Calculate and prioritize curtailment strategies.
On the CAS roadmap, reporting enhancements will enable users to make better decisions with more robust options for looking at their information. The current CAS enhancements make the user interface more consistent with EAS and other MCG Energy applications. These changes to CAS are enhancements not just at the UI level. Updates to the core parts of the application provide additional features and make it easy to stay up to date with the latest technologies.
CAS UI Controls Update
The new, modern look of CAS visually compartmentalizes the search, display and filter options in a consistent and clean user interface. Users will notice a similar interface to EAS with column headings looking more like an Excel worksheet.
Control Area Scheduling Reports
The reporting functionality in EAS will soon be brought over to CAS so users can take advantage of the powerful scheduled and ad-hoc reporting options in both systems. Users will have the ability to output their reports in different formats: one Excel sheet with a report on each tab, one report per Excel sheet, or bundling all reports in a zip file. Sharing options will include email distribution right from the CAS interface or through SFTP over a secure network.
Energy Accounting Software Enhancements and Future Roadmap
MCG’s Energy Accounting System (EAS) is a powerful energy accounting tool for tracking and managing time series data. EAS prioritizes multiple meter data sources in as little as 5-minute intervals and validates information across profiles or intervals to quickly identify data quality issues. Dynamic calculations and ah-hoc reporting tools are supported by multiple data formats that communicate with regional and core systems and provide the energy accountant with thorough drill-down functionality.
Furthering the wide range of scheduled and ad-hoc reporting capabilities of the current version of EAS, MCG Energy has upgraded the scheduled reporting capabilities. EAS also has new Scratchpad functionality that provides users with a new data viewer that will complement the future Dashboard Map Control that is in development to bring over from CAS.
Scheduled Reporting Enhancements
As part of MCG Energy’s suite of applications, EAS natively integrates with CAS to bring over extensive reporting capabilities. CAS utilizes EAS data for meter actuals, roll-ups and net schedule to provide users with a comprehensive transmission load management system.
EAS Scratchpad Tool
The new Scratchpad Tool was released with the latest update to EAS and can now be accessed from the Tools Menu. For users familiar with the Microsoft Excel interface, you will notice an initial similarity. However, the extensive functionality behind the Scratchpad Tool far exceeds those of Excel. Scratchpad gives users a different and dynamic view of their application data as a powerful worksheet tool and can be viewed within templates tailored for companies or for individuals. To understand the extensive capabilities of this tool for your EAS system, please contact MCG to set up a demo with our developer and your EPA.
Dashboard Map Control
Another new feature in MCG’s energy accounting software is the Dashboard Map Control heavily utilized in our Integrated Asset Management system (IAM). It will be available in EAS in the first quarter of 2024. MCG Energy is developing this as a modularized tool so updates and user experiences will be consistent between applications.
The Dashboard Map provides a graphical representation of data from any dashboard. Users will be able to visually track the flow of MWH from one metered point to another as they toggle through their time series information. Users can also configure their Dashboard Map with custom labels, connectors and set labels and/or endpoints to change color when specific limits are reached.
Hosted Data Services Enhancements
MCG Energy provides Hosted Data Services (HDS) as a single online platform for querying, reporting and archiving any data from our systems like CAS or EAS hosted in our NIST SP 80-53 r4 compliant private cloud, which is now in Agency review for FedRAMP authorization. HDS gives customers simplified data views with full querying and reporting capabilities.
Programmatic APIs provide direct integration with internal systems and bring customer data into the HDS database so heavy querying is mitigated on the production system. The massive load of querying, reporting and archiving can be taxing, but HDS provides its end users with a seamless integration in one front-end application.
Major UI Overhaul of Hosted Data Services
The long awaited HDS user interface overhaul is available and users can now benefit from the new modular functionality that was developed for all MCG Energy applications. Modules for screens, reporting or dashboards created for EAS, CAS or IAM can quickly and easily be added to HDS almost immediately.
HDS Cloud Instances
Initially developed as a proof of concept, MCG Energy is excited to offer all HDS customers the ability to sync their data to a local SQL server database or a cloud instance. The sync can pull data to a local data warehouse, or into an Azure or Amazon SQL server database instance, and then to a customer owned direct BI Reporting Tool integration with their cloud-synced HDS copy.
The source code utility can be provided directly to customers with training for their IT staff on how to customize and maintain the sync service. The cloud instance will be owned by the customer which provides internal control for accessing the database tables. Source code will also be provided to sync HDS data to an internal SQL instance for internal BI Tools or other reporting.
Upcoming HDS Roadmap
With the exciting new upgrades in HDS, older versions of the application will need to be brought current to take advantage of the new modularized tools, screens and functions.
If you have any questions about your HDS services, contact our support team.
Adding More User Groups
MCG Energy is excited to kick off new user groups for the CAS, EAS and HDS applications. User groups are vital in our ability to provide end users with the tools and functionality they need to do their job effectively and efficiently. Members of these user groups will have unique opportunities to provide input and feedback on application plans down the line.
Contact MCG Energy to find out when each user group plans to meet.
MCG Energy is always focused on developing a complete Energy Software Suite that enables our customers to find the energy solutions and the make decisions they need. We’re excited about the new enhancements to CAS, EAS and HDS that support real time querying and reporting, allowing users to respond to market demands. These upgrades provide the architectural backbone for MCG Energy’s Power Solutions to stay up to date with the latest technologies and respond to our highly valued customer requests faster than ever.
Don’t hesitate to contact MCG Energy with software needs, enhancement requests or assistance with our applications. Our priority is serving you and your evolving energy market management demands. The upcoming MCG Energy Software Users Conference will provide the opportunity to meet, discuss, and provide feedback and direction on the day-to-day operation and the future of your MCG Energy applications!
David Peterson, Ph.D. is the content specialist for MCG Energy Solutions.