Smart grid

On Dec. 19, President Bush signed into law the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, H.R.6, which became P.L. 110-140 (not currently available online). According to a NY Times article, it is "Legislation that will slowly but fundamentally change the cars Americans drive, the fuel they burn, the way they light their homes and the price they pay for food...."

On Dec. 20, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) issued a report on Smart Grid, provided for in Title XIII of the act.
The term Smart Grid refers to a distribution system that allows for flow of information from a customer's meter in two directions: both inside the house to thermostats and appliances and other devices, and back to the utility....The goal is to use advanced, information-based technologies to increase power grid efficiency, reliability, and flexibility, and reduce the rate at which additional electric utility infrastructure needs to be built.
Section 1307 therein provides for state consideration of Smart Grid. As summarized by CRS:
The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2621 (d)) is amended to require each state to consider requiring electric utilities demonstrate that prior to investing in non-advanced grid technologies, Smart Grid technology is determined not to be appropriate. States must also consider regulatory standards that allow utilities to recover Smart Grid investments through rates.

Smart Grid Provisions in H.R. 6, 110th Congress, CRS Report RL34288 (pdf, 11pp/248kB, from Open CRS), December 20, 2007

Video of Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking in favor of the bill, Dec. 6, 2007 (10:03), from YouTube:

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