In conjunction with an address by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to GridWeek, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has announced the completion of SG-AMI 1-2009 Requirements for Smart Meter Upgradeability, the first official original smart grid standard.

A team of meter manufacturers and electric utilities developed SG-AMI 1-2009 to provide guidance to utilities, state commissions and others that want to deploy advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) prior to completion of the standards work identified in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Smart Grid Interoperability Roadmap.

According to NEMA President and CEO Evan R. Gaddis, this standard is particularly noteworthy for two reasons.

“First, the standard solves an immediate Smart Grid industry problem by providing guidance to utilities and state commissions on the procurement of AMI systems,” Gaddis said. “Second, the standard was completed in less than 90 days from the creation of the standards task team to the official approval by an authorized standards-development organization.”

NIST conducted several workshops throughout 2009 to obtain input on the development of a Smart Grid Interoperability Roadmap. The roadmap identifies a plan for moving forward with the development and/or modification of smart grid-related standards. However, roadmap and its component priority action plans will take several years to complete. NEMA’s requirements will aid utilities and other stakeholders with the purchase of smart grid products and systems today.

To provide this guidance, George Arnold, NIST national coordinator for Smart Grid Interoperability, called on NEMA to conduct an accelerated standards-development effort. The objective was to define requirements for smart meter firmware upgradeability in the context of an AMI system using a common vocabulary among industry stakeholders, such as regulators, utilities and vendors.

NEMA assembled a team to complete the draft of the standard in less than 60 days. The team coordinated the review and approval within NEMA in roughly 30 days. In total, the entire project, from initial team meeting to officially approved standard, was completed in less than 90 days. This standard will be used by smart meter suppliers, utility customers, and key constituents, such as regulators, to guide both development and decision-making as related to smart meter upgradeability.