The smart grid is a transformation process of the global power industry. A transformation is not a trivial change. It is a big and complex change process that will satisfy ongoing customer needs, which they are not able to articulate yet.
By following closely the AMIs of BGE and Hawaii, and the Smart Grid of Xcel Energy's cases, it is evident that state regulators are legally bound to conduct a regulatory process to make sure utilities manage their projects efficiently. But those are the business-as-usual procedures for things that are easily articulated.
However, transformations need a different regulatory environment, as John P. Kotter described in his article What Leaders Really Do, "They don't make plans; they don't solve problems; they don't even organize people. What leaders really do is prepare organizations for change and help them cope as they struggle through it." The new regulations must precede the initiation of the transformation of the power industry. In that light, please take a look at the EWPC article Three Smart Grid Predictions for Initiating the Global Power Industry Transformation, whose summary offers:
Prediction #1: Recognizing the emerging global power industry in the complete context around the Intelligent Utility Inside article Baltimore G&E: AMI Comeback? and that of this EWPC article, the Maryland PSC “No so fast” decision on the BGE proposal is highly likely the 1st domino of the chain reaction that is going to start “knocking over the next” state regulator’s utility case, “which upsets the next one, and so on.”
Prediction #2: Rethinking the old utility compact with an obligation to serve to an emergent compact on the T&D Grid side of the EWPC-AF with an obligation to deliver, the end-to-end “smart grid” will play out as part of the Enterprise side of the EWPC-AF.
Prediction #3: Repositioning the utilities that missed the opportunities to learn the lessons of other industries is bound to be in a restricted T&D Grid space that will sooner or later be "painfully consolidated."