As the utilities start making use of the Internet, NII, and GII for partial or total support of their own grid management and business activities, as well as utility to consumer transactions, they encounter certain obstacles that although are not unique are never the less foreboding due to the scale necessary for implementation. Imagine every house, industrial building, campus, office building, and the like having its own local area networks that include both information and energy appliances that need to communicate. Issues relevant to this application area include, but are not limited to: What protocols will be used? The use of multicast for broadcast of real time pricing information? What security and privacy issues will be introduced in this new model? What monetary/business/trade issues will be relevant when the distribution of energy and associated business transactions cross national boundaries? What communications and information models will be used for the utility to consumer interactions? What protocols are required to support re-aggregation of consumer responses to real time pricing updates or shortage notices? Will the building LAN be implemented over the existing power lines, telephone lines, cable, radio or other media? Will each building electrical outlet be addressable and will the smart appliances be nomadic (ie. a Laptop, toaster, etc.) .
This paper will outline the major areas and issues with respect to 1) the energy utilities use and possible provisioning of network services, 2) the current major business and regulatory issues, 3) the technical challenges facing an utility company wishing to use the Internet, NII, and GII to support both its internal and customer based communications needs; and 4) explore what models and technologies are required by both the utilities and their customers (e.g. premises LAN, the gateway to the premises, and the utility infrastructure) to support both energy demand management and possibly generic Internet/NII/GII access to the end user.