Report of the Demand-Side Resources & Smart Grid Committee

Energy Law Journal, January 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Report of the Demand-Side Resources & Smart Grid Committee


This report summarizes a selection of legislative and regulatory developments at the federal and state level in the areas of Smart Grid and demand-side resources during 2011.*

I. SMART GRID DEVELOPMENTS

A. Federal Activity

1. FERC and NIST Smart Grid Activity

In July 2011, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order1 finding that there was insufficient consensus to adopt standards to insure smart-grid functionality and interoperability in interstate transmission of electric power from among five "families" of standards under consideration.2 The FERC decided not to institute a rulemaking proceeding with respect to these standards and terminated the docket, Docket No. RM11-2-000.3 The five families of standards had previously been "identified as ready for consideration by regulatory authorities by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)"4 pursuant to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA).5

The EISA directs the FERC, once it is satisfied that the NIST's work has led to "sufficient consensus" on Smart Grid interoperability standards, to "institute a rulemaking proceeding to adopt such standards and protocols as may be necessary to insure smart-grid functionality and interoperability in interstate transmission of electric power, and regional and wholesale electricity markets."6 Relying upon "information gathered at technical conferences held on November 14, 2010 and January 31, 2011 in [Docket No. RM11-2-000] and on responses to the Supplemental Notice Requesting Comments issued February 16, 2011 (Supplemental Notice) seeking additional information on [S]mart [G]rid interoperability standards and the standards development process,"7 the FERC determined that sufficient consensus was lacking to allow such a rulemaking on the standards.8 The FERC "encourage[d] utilities, [S]mart [G]rid product manufacturers, regulators, and other [S]mart [G]rid stakeholders to actively participate in the NIST interoperability framework process,"9 "including the work of the [NIST's Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP)] and its committees and working groups," finding it to be "the best vehicle for developing [S]mart [G]rid interoperability standards."10

In October 2011, the NIST released a NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards, Release 2.0, "detail[ing] progress made in Phases II and III of the NIST's three-phase plan since the establishment of the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) in November 2009."11 Among the report's contents were a description of existing standards and emerging specifications applicable to the Smart Grid,12 including twenty-two new standards, specifications, and guidelines in addition to the seventy-five the NIST had recommended as immediately applicable to the Smart Grid in the first Roadmap.13 A new chapter, Framework for Smart Grid Interoperability Testing and Certification, provides details on an assessment of existing Smart Grid standards testing programs and offers high-level guidance for the development of a testing and certification framework.14

2. New NAESB Standards

Coordinated with the NIST effort to develop interoperability standards in response to the EISA were standards developed by the North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB). The NAESB created two additional interoperability standards in 2011 to complement the suite of NAESB Smart Grid work products. With the support of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), the NAESB developed the Third Party Access to Smart Meter-Based Information standard, which provides voluntary model business practices for the disclosure of smart meter-based information to third party service providers and the privacy practices that should be employed by those third party service providers and the distribution companies disseminating such information.15 The standard was finalized on August 8, 2011 and was referenced in the Smart Grid Principles resolution adopted by several standing Committees of NARUC as "a good reference point when developing such rules. …

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