Washington, DC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — December 31, 2007 – The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that was signed into law by U.S. President George Bush just before Christmas supports the modernization of the nation’s electricity transmission and distribution system in the form of a smart grid and the deployment of “smart” metering and other technologies.

Title XIII of the Act calls on the Secretary of the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OEDER), within a year of its enactment and every two years thereafter, to report to Congress on the status of smart grid deployments nationwide and on any regulatory or government barriers to their continued deployment. In addition the Secretary is required, within 18 months, to present an assessment of the impacts of the deployment of smart grid systems on the security of the electricity infrastructure and operating capability.

In terms of the Act, within 90 days of its enactment, a Smart Grid Advisory Committee and a Smart Grid Task Force will be established, respectively to advise on and coordinate the smart grid development activities.

Smart grid technology research, development and demonstration is also mandated, with activities including the development of advanced techniques for measuring peak load reductions and energy efficiency savings from smart metering, demand response, distributed generation, and electricity storage systems, and the establishment of a smart grid regional demonstration initiative in up to five electricity control areas. For the latter an amount of $100 million per year will be provided through 2012.

Responsibility for the development of protocols and standards is vested with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which must commence this work within 60 days of the enactment. The aim is to achieve interoperability of smart grid devices and systems and to align the policy, business and technology approaches.

A Smart Grid Investment Matching Grant Program will also be established to provide reimbursement of up to 20 percent of certain smart grid investments. Among these are the expenditures incurred by electric utilities, distributors, or marketers and customers to purchase and install metering devices, sensors, control devices, and other devices that can engage in smart grid functions.

In addition states must consider authorizing electric utilities to recover from ratepayers any capital and operating expenditure relating to the deployment of a qualified smart grid system.