Smart Grids: The Regulatory Challenges

Daphne Ngar-yin Mah*, Kaboo Po-yi Leung, Peter Hills

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Smart grids present major potential benefits in terms of economic, environmental, and social considerations. The deployment of smart grids however requires not only technological advancement but also the ability to overcome many regulatory barriers. This chapter brings regulator perspectives—an area that is under-explored—into the field of smart grid studies. We examine why regulators should be concerned about smart grid developments, the nature of the regulatory challenges they may face, and what they can do to address these challenges. We have two major findings. Firstly, we demonstrate that smart grids present new challenges to regulators. Regulators are faced with three major challenges: utility disincentives, pricing inefficiencies, and cybersecurity and privacy. Market liberalisation, decoupling, dynamic pricing, and protocols and standards on cybersecurity are the major mechanisms that regulators can deploy to address these issues. Secondly, our international case studies of countries and cities provide an overview of a variety of actual regulatory initiatives in place. This overview shows how economies have pioneered a variety of regulatory approaches that tend to be more participatory to better respond to the more dynamic stakeholder landscape that is emerging.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSmart Grid Applications and Developments
EditorsDaphne Mah, Peter Hills, Victor O.K. Li, Richard Balme
PublisherSpringer London
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781447162810
ISBN (Print)9781447162803, 9781447170723
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2014

Publication series

NameGreen Energy and Technology
ISSN (Print)1865-3529
ISSN (Electronic)1865-3537

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

User-Defined Keywords

  • Smart Grid
  • Electricity Market
  • Electricity Price
  • Dynamic Price
  • Regulatory Approach


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