On 19 July the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or the Commission) issued an order finding that there is insufficient consensus to institute a rulemaking to adopt the five families of smart grid interoperability standards that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) identified as ready for consideration in October of 2010. In making this determination, the Commission stated its belief that the NIST interoperability framework process is still the best vehicle for developing the interoperability standards despite certain concerns raised by commenters.
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) sought to support the modernization of the nation's electricity transmission and distribution system by identifying characteristics to be incorporated into the modernized smart grid. To this end, the EISA directed NIST to coordinate the development of a framework to achieve interoperability of smart grid devices and systems.
After launching a plan to expedite the development of the interoperability standards in August 2009, NIST notified the Commission by letter on 6 October 2010 that it identified five families of standards that were ready for consideration by regulators. After holding two technical conferences with state utility regulatory commissions on the standards and receiving comments that were overwhelmingly against adopting the standards at this time, the Commission found that there was insufficient consensus to move forward with the rulemaking and terminated the proceeding. The Commission encouraged stakeholders to participate in the NIST process for development of interoperability standards and referred stakeholders to that process for guidance on the standards.