One of the key challenges for any new technology, like Smart Grids, is finding intelligent ways to manage them.
Smart Grids contain new assets for utilities (Smart Meters) which collect data about energy usage and pass it back to the utility. They should also be capable of receiving data from the utility (price signals) and communicating that with the household.
Because this is an extremely immature technology as yet, there are many new entrants in the field with solutions around managing Smart Grids.
At the SAP for Utilities conference, I spoke to Krishna Kumar of Space-Time-Insight and he demonstrated their Smart Grid management software. I was impressed at the way the software used Google Maps and was able to zoom in or out to report at the city/block/individual residence level!
The fact that it also allows for the management of assets like wind turbines makes this an interesting piece of software for utilities, I suspect.