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What do Utilties need to consider during grid modernization (or Smart Grid implementation)?

Smart Grids now are becoming reality of the present world, even though they are at a very early stage. In this blog I am trying to get in to the shoes of Utility strategist and give my point of view on the questions that needs to be answered while strategizing the plans for Smart Grid implementation.

There are several reasons or should I say drivers behind smart grid projects, to list a few:

  • Regulations
  • Availability of Stimulus
  • Peer Pressure from other Utilities
  • Genuine interest in grid and systems upgrades

Not matter what the reason there are several questions every utility is facing today.

Some that come to my mind are as follows:

  • What are the risks and how to minimize the risk with respect to current and future operations? Similarly what are the worthwhile risks?
  • How to keep the current operation intact?
  • How to perform compliance testing and end to end testing of the new systems, applications and products?
  • How will the changes be reverted back to the previous state if something goes wrong (the fact is the grid is operational today with the existing technology, systems and applications)?
  • What's the maturity of the new technology and how will it affect the effectiveness, timeliness and risks of the smart grid implementation?
  • How to keep the cost of implementation in control?
  • There are too many options, how to choose the best option for my utility?
  • What will be training requirements for the utility personnel? What will be the skillset requirement and availability of right resources to manage and operate the new systems?
  • Will it affect my IT budget and how much?
  • What is must have and what's good to have?
  • How to keep customers informed and involved?
  • What should be the short-term, mid-term and long-term priorities?
  • What is the dependency between short-term, mid-term and long-term priorities?

These are Challenging and exciting times ahead for the Electrical Utility Industry and there is a consensus at the high level about smart grid needs, benefits and goals. The requirement is to carefully, weigh the options and plan for the future of the electrical grids and the society.
This is what needs to be well thought during the development of Smart Grid roadmaps and plans.

I leave it up to my fellow readers to think and provide their feedback/comments on what other questions need to be answered before or during a smart grid project is implemented.


Thanks Deven for the detailed questions faced by the utilities. As you know this year there is a slown down on the Smart Grid investments especially the stimulus money spent. How the prioirities changing with this slow down

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