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NEMA Responds to FERC Ruling on Smart Grid Standards

07/21/2011 2:00PMSign-up to receive press releases.

(ROSSLYN, Va.)—As an advocate for the voluntary adoption of technical standards for the Smart Grid, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) lauds the recent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) decision to forgo a rulemaking on the five families of Smart Grid Interoperability Standards in its July 19, 2011, Order on Docket Number RM11-2-000.

According to NEMA Vice President of Technical Services Alvin B. Scolnik, a number of NEMA members manufacture products that conform to standards included in the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) submission to FERC that formed the basis for this ruling.

“NEMA has been very supportive of the NIST Smart Grid standards program and we think the FERC decision is neither a rejection of the NIST consensus process nor the adoption of global standards for the Smart Grid,” said Mr. Scolnik. “We firmly believe that there will beappropriate reasons for FERC to mandate the use of specific standards in the future and EISA [the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007] gives them the authority to make that call.”

In its decision, FERC points to NIST, the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP), and the SGIP working groups as the "best vehicle for developing Smart Grid interoperability standards." Through its involvement in the SGIP, NEMA member companies and staff have provided valuable leadership at the Governing Board, Plenary Body, Subcommittee, and Working Group levels.

"The SGIP Catalog of Standards provides the perfect venue to conform to the FERC order on this docket," said John Caskey, NEMA's Assistant Vice President of Industry Operations and SGIP Governing Board Vice Chair. "Standards that are in the catalog have been thoroughly vetted and balloted by the SGIP membership, creating the very basis for consensus that is required in EISA."

"Inclusion of a standard in the catalog shouldn't make it mandatory," Mr. Caskey added, "but it is something that FERC, as well as state-level regulators can point to as a repository of good ideas for grid operators looking for Smart Grid solutions. The Governing Board position is that the catalog of standards is a source, but not necessarily the sole source for Smart Grid implementers."

NEMA is the association of electrical and medical imaging equipment manufacturers. Founded in 1926 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., its approximately 450 member companies manufacture products used in the generation, transmission and distribution, control, and end use of electricity. These products are used in utility, industrial, commercial, institutional, and residential applications. The association’s Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) Division represents manufacturers of cutting-edge medical diagnostic imaging equipment including MRI, CT, x-ray, and ultrasound products. Worldwide sales of NEMA-scope products exceed $120 billion. In addition to its headquarters in Rosslyn, Virginia, NEMA also has offices in Beijing and Mexico City.

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