Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) is well recognized as the foundational technology platform enabling the Smart Grid of the future. Often, it is the first milestone in connecting utilities to the Smart Grid.
Not only does AMI provide significant features and functions that enable a wide variety of Smart Grid applications, but it brings with it a communications infrastructure that transcends the electric utility service territory, extending the network to the millions of consumers at the edges of the delivery system.
With this comes a potential economy of scale to support additional, low-cost monitoring and control applications that historically have not been practical due to communication costs. At the same time, underlying strategic elements that contribute to the vision of the Smart Grid also drive requirements for increased visibility into the status of the power delivery infrastructure and operational awareness for the optimization of the delivery and use of energy.

You can access the full article here Enabling Cost-Effective Distribution Automation through Open-Standards AMI Communications.