The Electricity Innovation Institute (E2I) announced that Cisco Systems, the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet, is the first technology leader to become a member of a public/private consortium that is taking the lead in the makeover of our nation's aging electric system. The Consortium for Electric Infrastructure to Support a Digital Society (CEIDS) is a multi-million dollar project managed by E2I to meet the complex energy demands of our increasingly digital society. E2I is an affiliate of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

CEIDS members include leading energy and technology organizations that are committed to the creation of a secure electric system that can deliver reliable, high quality power. To ensure the project addresses the vital needs of the entire country, the Consortium is assisted by a public advisory group comprised of officials from nine state energy agencies.

"Our immediate goal is to create a networked architecture for the 'smart grid' - an open, standards-based electricity system that will support new generations of technologies and provide innovative customer services," said T. J. Glauthier, president and CEO of E2I. "The smart grid will utilize sophisticated communications and computing technologies to deliver highly reliable power over a system that is secure from hackers or terrorists."

"We are pleased to welcome Cisco Systems as the first technology organization to join CEIDS," said Clark Gellings, EPRI's vice president for power delivery and markets. "The smart grid of the future will have many internet-like qualities, and CEIDS provides industry leaders like Cisco with the opportunity to shape the development of the new architecture and create standards that will make the delivery of power more efficient, reliable, and secure."

Gellings described a digital-quality networked electricity superhighway that will enable all participants to communicate data and exchange information easily and openly. The system architecture will include a networked communications infrastructure that links energy users to markets and enable real-time pricing, customer energy management, and innovative energy services. CEIDS will take advantage of the ongoing work of individual stakeholders to deliver the kind of crosscutting, multi-disciplinary science and technology that none of the stakeholders has the resources or capabilities to do alone.

"Cisco recognizes the importance of EPRI and the CEIDS community as the energy industry's foremost source for science and technology solutions," said Dave Rossetti, vice president of strategic software technology at Cisco Systems. "The creation of an electric system based on an intelligent information network will transform how electricity is delivered nationwide. We look forward to many years of future innovations, collaboration and teamwork and encourage other technology companies to become members of this organization to help accelerate the adoption and implementation of a smart electric system."