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Last week, U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Calif., introduced the Smart Grid Advancement Act of 2013 into the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill, which has entered Congress in various iterations over the past few years, is co-sponsored by Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa.

Key to the legislation are measures that would require states and utilities to establish goals for reducing electrical use during peak times through the use of smart grid technologies.

The act would also enhance the federal Energy Star program - an initiative that gives consumers information about purchasing energy-efficient appliances - to better integrate smart grid features into the program.

"In order to better utilize our energy resources, we must become more efficient and transition to lower-carbon energy systems. Making necessary investments in the nation's smart grid is one way to facilitate this transition," McNerney says.

"If we take action now, [the] smart grid will create family-wage jobs, produce real economic benefits, increase energy efficiency, and allow for renewable energy technologies to be more easily integrated into our system," he adds.

Industry stakeholders applauded the bill's introduction.

"There is much to do in terms of policy initiatives that deliver greater benefits from [the] smart grid, demand response and energy efficiency," noted Dan Delurey, executive director of the Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition (DRSG). "DRSG is pleased to see Congressman McNerney moving to do just that."

The bill, which is available HERE, has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. No word yet on when it will be discussed in the committee.

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