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Distribution Automation

Distribution automation (DA) is a family of technologies, including sensors, processors, information and communication networks, and switches, through which a utility can collect, automate, analyze, and optimize data to improve the operational efficiency of its distribution power system.

Products encompass the components and systems used to supervise, measure, monitor, and control electrical loads on distribution systems and at distribution substations, including:

  • Asset optimization
  • Automated and interconnected equipment
  • Demand optimization
  • Distribution optimization
  • Distribution system monitoring, control and analysis software
  • Information and communications technology networks
  • Test equipment and systems for product certification and conformity acceptance.

Distribution automation can improve the speed, cost, and accuracy of several key distribution system processes, including fault detection, feeder switching, and outage management; voltage monitoring and control; reactive power management; preventative equipment maintenance for critical substation and feeder line equipment; and grid integration of distributed energy resources.

NEMA Members create and pursue market opportunities through regular interaction with such DA industry stakeholders as equipment manufacturers, software developers and network providers. They enjoy access to a broad base of potential customers through engagement with industry associations that include the Edison Electric Institute and American Public Power Association​.



  • Develops Standards and technical documents to educate customers on DA technologies; publishes white papers that promote Member product technologies, including volt/VAR optimization, resiliency and communications architectures
  • Develops and maintains an ANSI/NEMA Interoperability Standard that establishes testing and certification recommendations and best practices
  • Leads the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Systems Committee (SyC) for Smart Energy
  • Promotes DA technologies,(e.g., volt/VAR optimization) as a subject matter expert at major industry events​


  • Advances regulatory and legislative policies that are favorable to DA adoption at federal and state levels
  • Encourages state public utility commissions and other regulatory bodies to adopt policies that promote DA technologies
  • Provides intelligence on Mexican regulation designed to facilitate privatization of the power grid, including access to Mexico's standards regulator for the power grid


  • Distribution power system markets


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