The center of your culture is left without electric power for a few hours only, and all of a sudden crowds of American citizens start looting and creating havoc. The smooth surface film must be very thin. Your social system must be quite unstable and unhealthy.

—Alexander Solzhenitsyn at Harvard Class Day Afternoon Exercises

Thursday, June 8, 1978

It is natural for the reader who is not fully versed in both power systems and communications to be curious about many aspects of the evolving technologies. For example, how did power systems and communication develop to their present states where something like the term “smart grid” could be coined? Certainly power systems and communications are both offshoots of electrical engineering and both involve the manipulation of power. Why have the two fields diverged so radically? Thinking about these questions leads to more fundamental questions. What is the relationship between electric power and information? And more specifically, what is the fundamental relationship between power systems and communication theory? Thinking about these questions helps us address more practical questions. What are the potential impacts of communication on efficiency in electric power transmission and distribution efficiency? What types of communication are most appropriate for different portions of the power grid? It is also intriguing to consider the more distant future. What will the power grid look like in the decades to come? How could ...

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