The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), Rosslyn, Va., has announced the completion of SG-AMI 1-2009, "Requirements for Smart Meter Upgradeability," which was developed by a team of meter manufacturers and electric utilities 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.

“First, the standard solves an immediate Smart Grid industry problem by providing guidance to utilities and state commissions on the procurement of AMI systems,” says Evan R. Gaddis, NEMA's president and CEO. “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. While Roadmap and its component Priority Action Plans will take several years to complete, utilities and other stakeholders need guidance on the purchase of Smart Grid products and systems today. In particular, utilities are installing AMI and smart metering systems now to bring Smart Grid benefits to consumers as soon as possible.

To provide this guidance, Dr. George Arnold, NIST's 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 accepted the challenge to lead this effort to develop a standard set of requirements for smart meter upgradeability on an exceptionally rapid schedule,” says Gaddis.

The standards team included meter manufacturers, electric utilities, and representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Richland, Wash.-based Pacific Northwest National Lab, Knoxville, Tenn.-based EnerNex, and NIST.

The team completed the draft of the standard in less than 60 days and 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. SG-AMI 1-2009, "Requirements for Smart Meter Upgradeability," will be available for download at no charge on the NEMA Web site.