FERC asks for all-industry input

“Smart Grid” refers to the emerging effort to combine the two-way flow of electricity with the two-way flow of information to make electricity generation, delivery, and use more efficient and reliable nationwide. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is asking whether the federal government should adopt enforceable interoperability standards to govern the Smart Grid relationships between energy and communications providers. FERC has extended its initial comment date to April 8, 2011. Once it has these comments, FERC will decide whether there exists “sufficient consensus” to proceed to a formal rulemaking to adopt interoperability standards. (For more information, please refer to our October 2010 client advisory here.)

Who has a stake in the upcoming Smart Grid debate?

Every company which believes Smart Grid will impact its future operations (as supplier or consumer of Smart Grid technologies or services) has an interest in the FERC proceeding and should consider filing comments. To date electric utilities and standards organizations have played the most prominent role in shaping the interoperability discussion. Communications services providers and equipment manufacturers should not overlook the April 8th opportunity to alert FERC to their positions on potential Smart Grid standards.