Just days before the FCC’s vote to open up television white space spectrum for unlicensed wireless broadband use, two House Democrats from California urged the agency to permit the usage of smart grid devices, such as digital electricity meters and home energy management systems, in the white space bands. In a letter addressed to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on Tuesday, Reps. Doris Matsui and Anna Eshoo asserted that operation of smart grid applications and similar technologies in the white space would “advance our nation’s clean energy needs” and would benefit utilities as well as consumers. According to Eshoo and Matsui, the proposal would enable consumers “to use their computer and wireless devices to monitor their energy usage in ‘real time,’ whether they are at home, at work or on vacation.” Noting that “utilities will be able to better manage outages, reduce peak demand, and gain more control over the decisions concerning resources,” the lawmakers also told Genachowski that their plan could eventually enable utilities to conduct automatic or remote meter reading and broadcast consumer alerts on electrical outages. While voicing support for “efforts the FCC is making to finalize policies that will allow devices and technologies to fully leverage the white space spectrum,” Eshoo and Matsui proclaimed, “we should be promoting policies to reach energy efficiency goals.” The National Association of Broadcasters—which has voiced concern that unlicensed wireless transmissions in the white spaces could interfere with digital television stations that operate in adjacent frequency bands—declined to comment on the letter.