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NEMA Reports to Congress on Standards Development Progress

09/8/2011 2:00PMSign-up to receive press releases.

(ROSSLYN, Va.)—Today, National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) Assistant Vice President of Industry Operations John Caskey testified before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation about empowering consumers and promoting innovation through the Smart Grid. Mr. Caskey is also Vice Chair of the Governing Board of the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) and Chair of the SGIP Vision/Mission/Roadmap Task Team.

In his testimony, Mr. Caskey encouraged the federal government to continue serving as a partner with industry in the effort to establish Smart Grid standards. He stressed the importance of promoting U.S. standards internationally.

“NEMA has taken the lead, with assistance from the Department of Commerce, to promote the U.S. Smart Grid roadmap in Mexico and Canada. Through a U.S. Trade and Development Agency program, NEMA is promoting the U.S. Smart Grid roadmap in China,” said Mr. Caskey. “As these countries and others adopt our Smart Grid architecture and standards, it opens the market for American manufacturers, and creates the opportunity for more American jobs.”

Additionally, Mr. Caskey also discussed SGIP next steps which included the creation of a roadmap to lead the organization forward for the next three years.

“The NIST [National Institute of Standards and Technology] framework has led us this far by identifying the most immediate standards work that needed to be completed over the first two years of the SGIP,” said Mr. Caskey. “Now the SGIP leadership needs to focus on providing direction for the next phase of Smart Grid development.”

Mr. Caskey also stated that NEMA believes the SGIP should work with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and NIST to resolve the issue of defining “consensus,” and that Congress and regulatory agencies should proceed with great caution around the issue of mandatory adoption of standards. He also testified that Smart Grid standards are more complex than other standards because they often include complicated communication and protocol components.

“This issue radically changes the meaning of ‘compliance’ and our understanding of the concepts of ‘interoperability’ and ‘plug and play’,” said Mr. Caskey.

NEMA is the association of electrical equipment manufacturers, founded in 1926 and headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. Its member companies manufacture a diverse set of products including power transmission and distribution equipment, lighting systems, factory automation and control systems, and medical diagnostic imaging systems. Worldwide annual sales of NEMA-scope products exceed $120 billion.

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