Deauville, France --- (METERING.COM) --- May 27, 2011 - A Memorandum of Understanding has been entered into between Russia’s Interregional Distribution Grid Company of Centre, JSC in Belgorod and San Diego Gas & Electric to cooperate on the development of smart grid.

In particular the two parties will cooperate on the priority areas of AMI smart meters: distribution automation; best practices in business processes; communications for utility operations; distribution control center, training center and crew management; creation of smart grid innovation cluster; security and video surveillance; streetlight management; and supportive government policies to promote smart grid.

Such cooperation will include the exchange of information and technical assistance and visits from one party to the other.

The MOU builds on an earlier Protocol of Intent concluded between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Russian Energy Agency (REA) in July, 2010, to deepen collaboration on smart grid technology as well as energy efficiency and clean energy.

“This new U.S.–Russia cooperation will enable utilities to reduce harmful emissions including greenhouse gases by enhancing their ability to help consumers use energy more efficiently, integrate and deliver renewable energy, and more efficiently transmit and deliver electricity to consumers,” commented USAID's deputy assistant administrator for Europe and Eurasia, Jonathan Hale. “It is a win-win effort for the U.S., Russia, and the global environment and climate.”

Officials from Belgorod interested in smart grid applications visited San Diego in April, and a return visit is planned in June.

Other activities that have been undertaken since the July 2010 Protocol was concluded have included a visit by Russian industry, technical and government officials to Texas and Washington D.C in December 2010, during which they saw first-hand the activities of CenterPoint Energy and Austin Energy utilities in this field and their interactions with consumers, vendors and regulators, and a return visit by CenterPoint Energy and Austin officials to Russia in the spring of this year.

Possible pilot projects emerging from these visits are currently under review.

A joint regulatory study is expected to commence in June, and an initial business roundtable will be conducted in Moscow in September/October.