[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 26 (Tuesday, February 9, 2010)]
[Pages 6414-6416]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-2813]



Consumer Interface With the Smart Grid

AGENCY: Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Executive 
Office of the President.

ACTION: Notice; request for public comment.


SUMMARY: With this notice, the Office of Science and Technology Policy 
(OSTP) within the Executive Office of the President requests input from 
the public regarding the consumer interface with the modernized 
electric grid (``Smart Grid''), which is a vital component of the 
President's comprehensive energy plan. In particular, we seek comments 
on issues related to Smart Grid implementation options, including the 
ways in which each option would support open innovation in home energy 
services. This Request for Information (RFI) will be active from 
February 10, 2010 to February 19, 2010. Respondents are invited to 
respond online via the Smart Grid Forum at http://blog.ostp.gov/category/smart-grid, or may submit responses via electronic mail. 
Electronic mail responses will be re-posted on the online forum. 
Instructions are provided at http://blog.ostp.gov/category/smart-grid.

DATES: Comments must be received by 5 p.m. EST on February 19, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments by one of the following methods:
     Smart Grid Forum: http://blog.ostp.gov/category/smart-grid.
     Via E-mail: [email protected].
     Mail: Office of Science and Technology Policy, Attn: Open 
Government Recommendations, 725 17th Street, Washington, DC 20502.
    Comments submitted in response to this notice may be made available 
to the public online or by alternative means. For this reason, please 
do not include in your comments information of a confidential nature, 
such as sensitive personal information or proprietary information. If 
you submit an e-mail comment, your e-mail address will be captured 
automatically and included as part of the comment that is placed in the 
public docket and made available on the Internet.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Kevin Hurst, Assistant Director 
for Energy Technology, Office of Science and Technology Policy, 
Executive Office of the President, Attn: Open Government, 725 17th 
Street, NW., Washington, DC 20502, 202-456-7116.


I. Background

    Modernization of the Nation's electric grid is a vital component of 
the President's comprehensive energy plan, which aims to reduce U.S. 
dependence on foreign oil, create jobs, and help U.S. industry compete 
successfully in global markets for clean energy technology.

[[Page 6415]]

    Seventy-two percent of the Nation's electricity is consumed in 
buildings, and nearly half of that is in homes. Optimizing building 
energy consumption, especially during peak load periods, can improve 
the reliability, security, and efficiency of the electric grid while 
reducing energy costs to consumers. The ``Smart Grid''--a modernized 
electricity transmission and distribution system involving the 
increased use of digital information and controls technology--can help 
to realize these benefits. Demand-side Smart Grid technologies include 
``smart meters'' (which provide two-way, near-real-time data 
communications between the utility and consumer premises), ``smart 
appliances'' (which provide data communications and control options), 
and ``smart interfaces'' that can integrate distributed energy 
resources, demand response resources, or other energy loads and storage 
devices such as plug-in electric and hybrid electric vehicles.
    The Smart Grid will help to provide consumers with the information, 
automation, and tools they need to control and optimize energy use. 
This control and optimization requires interoperability and information 
exchange between the grid and a wide variety of energy-using devices 
and controllers, such as thermostats, water heaters, appliances, 
consumer electronics, and energy management systems. The Department of 
Energy (DOE) Smart Grid Investment Grant program, funded by the 
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is accelerating deployment of 
smart meters and other components of an advanced electric grid.
    In many instances, smart meters will have the capability to 
communicate near-real-time measurements of electricity usage to the 
utility and the consumer. In some implementations, data can be provided 
to the consumer directly from the smart meter (or another monitoring 
device) through an in-home display or energy management system via a 
local communications interface. In other implementations, consumers or 
their authorized agents can obtain their usage data via the internet 
from an information system at the utility.
    One of the goals of the Smart Grid is to enable innovation and 
competition in new products and services that can help consumers 
minimize both peak and overall energy usage and save money. To be most 
effective, the Smart Grid will need to provide not only usage data but 
also information such as electricity price data and demand response 
signals to the consumer and energy-using devices in the home. This 
information could be provided to the consumer's home devices either 
through the smart meter's local communication interface or through a 
separate gateway, provided either by the utility or a third-party 
service provider. In order to clarify the various implementation 
options, we seek comments on issues related to the demand-side Smart 
Grid architecture, including potential costs, benefits, implementation 
hurdles, and the ways in which each option would support open 
innovation in home energy services.
    A robust, secure, and flexible architecture based on open standards 
is needed for information exchange between the home and the Smart Grid. 
Section 1305 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 
advises that the Smart Grid interoperability framework be designed to 
``* * * consider the use of voluntary uniform standards for certain 
classes of mass-produced electric appliances and equipment for homes 
and businesses that enable customers, at their election and consistent 
with applicable State and Federal laws, and are manufactured with the 
ability to respond to electric grid emergencies and demand response 
signals'' * * *. The diversity of communications technologies and 
standards used by devices in the home presents a significant challenge 
to achieving interoperability. A balance must be struck between 
maximizing innovation and customer choice, while ensuring reliability 
and a sufficiently standardized environment so that manufacturers can 
produce cost-effective Smart Grid-enabled appliances that work anywhere 
in the Nation. That balance must also include the need for cost-
effective Smart Grid infrastructure. In addition, ensuring cyber 
security in the home-to-grid interface is a critical consideration.
    The Smart Grid must provide benefits to a wide variety of 
consumers. Some consumers who have many energy-using appliances and 
devices may wish to have the grid interoperate with an existing home 
area network and a sophisticated home energy management system. Other 
consumers with simpler circumstances may not have the desire, skill, or 
means to configure a home area network and may simply wish to plug in a 
new, Smart-Grid-enabled appliance and have it automatically communicate 
with the grid in order to realize energy-saving benefits. The diversity 
of consumer needs must be considered in the design and deployment of 
Smart Grid infrastructure and devices.
    The Executive Branch is considering ways to ensure that the 
consumer interface to the Smart Grid achieves the desired goal of 
providing all consumers with the information they need to control and 
optimize their energy use in a manner that ensures ease of use, 
widespread adoption, and innovation. The National Institute of 
Standards and Technology (NIST), pursuant to the Energy Independence 
and Security Act of 2007, recently published the first release of an 
interoperability framework for the Smart Grid (NIST Special Publication 
1108, available at http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/releases/smartgrid_interoperability_final.pdf), which includes discussion of 
these issues and identifies the need for further work to provide 

II. Invitation To Comment

    Input is welcome on issues related to the architecture of the 
consumer interface with the Smart Grid as well as consumer ownership of 
Smart Grid data. Questions that individuals may wish to address 
include, but are not limited to the following. As part of your 
submission, please indicate the question to which your answer responds.
    1. Should the smart meter serve as the primary gateway for 
residential energy usage data, price data, and demand response signals? 
What are the most important factors in making this assessment, and how 
might those factors change over time?
    2. Should a data gateway other than the smart meter be used for all 
or a subset of the data described in question 1?
    3. If the smart meter, via the utility network, is the primary 
gateway for the data described in question 1, will consumers and their 
authorized third-party service providers be able to access the data 
easily and in real time?
    4. Who owns the home energy usage data? Should individual consumers 
and their authorized third-party service providers have the right to 
access energy usage data directly from the meter?
    5. How are low-income consumers best served by home-to-grid 
    6. What alternative architectures involving real-time (or near-
real-time) electricity usage and price data are there that could 
support open innovation in home energy services?
    Please note that several important Smart Grid topics--including 
Federal and State policy hurdles, appliance interoperability standards, 
cyber security, and business case challenges--are beyond the scope of 
this request, except insofar as they bear on the primary topics 
identified above. One or more future requests for comment may be 
organized to obtain input on these additional issues. Discussions of 
all of the above topics are also ongoing in

[[Page 6416]]

several forums, including the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel 
established by NIST and the GridWise Architecture Council established 
by DOE. Relevant input received through this request will be shared 
with NIST, DOE, and other interested Federal agencies.

M. David Hodge,
Operations Manager.
[FR Doc. 2010-2813 Filed 2-8-10; 8:45 am]