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NARUC Center for Partnerships and Innovation Announces Smart Grid Interoperability Learning Modules

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For Immediate Release:

Contact: Scott R. Bolden,

WASHINGTON (October 22, 2020) — The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Center for Partnerships and Innovation today announced the release of a series of Smart Grid Interoperability Learning Modules.

The series consists of 12 (less than 15-minute) videos, designed for state utility commissions focused on the economics of interoperability, operational considerations for interoperability and roles and responsibilities of state utility regulators. Speakers filmed for the videos include experts from U.S. Department of Commerce National Institute of Standards and Technology (who supported the development of the videos), U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories, university professors and others. Public utility commission staff from Michigan and Minnesota provided brief video descriptions of how they have leveraged interoperability in their states. Additionally, each module contains links to glossary terms and recommended reading.  NARUC will release new videos throughout the remainder of 2020.

By definition, interoperability is the ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information and to use the information that has been exchanged. Interoperability ultimately means that devices (and systems and people) work well together. In the “What is Interoperability?” video, David Forfia explains the Gridwise Architecture Council’s Interoperability Framework, which outlines three categories of interoperability: organizational, informational and technical. Different levels of interoperability require a trade-off between short-term effort and long-term cost. Higher levels of interoperability require more effort but are lower cost in the long run. Interoperability, by ensuring that components (e.g., distributed energy resources, metering infrastructure, software systems) work well together, increases system-wide benefit and helps achieve policy objectives, including safety, reliability, resilience and affordability.

“NARUC’s interoperability learning modules are an easy way to select bite-sized topics to explore, depending on what topics are most relevant to us at any given moment,” said Wally Nixon, managing attorney at the Arkansas Public Service Commission. “Complicated information is presented in a simplified way by well-versed industry experts.”

"Interoperability is a way to manage risk and costs. Utility regulators can get some great training to understand what they need to know about interoperability through the NARUC interoperability learning modules,” added Commissioner Sarah Freeman of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

To access the Smart Grid Interoperability Learning Modules, as well as a short companion guide, Smart Grid Interoperability: Prompts for State Regulators to Engage Utilities, please visit




NARUC is a non-profit organization founded in 1889 whose members include the governmental agencies that are engaged in the regulation of utilities and carriers in the fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. NARUC's member agencies regulate telecommunications, energy, and water utilities. NARUC represents the interests of state public utility commissions before the three branches of the federal government.


About NARUC Center for Partnerships and Innovation

The NARUC Center for Partnerships & Innovation (CPI) identifies emerging challenges and connects state commissions with expertise and strategies to navigate complex decision-making. CPI accomplishes this goal by building relationships, developing resources, and delivering training that provides answers to state commissions’ questions.