Regulatory environments is the obstacles of smart grid obstacles
In Europe and the US, significant impediments exist to the widespread adoption of smart grid technologies, including:
regulatory environments that don't reward utilities for operational efficiency, excluding U.S. awards.
consumer concerns over privacy,social concerns over "fair" availability of electricity,social concerns over Enron style abuses of information leverage,limited ability of utilities to rapidly transform their business and operational environment to take advantage of smart grid technologies.
concerns over giving the government mechanisms to control the use of all power using activities, and concerns on computer security.
Before a utility installs an advanced metering system, or any type of smart system, it must make a business case for the investment. Some components, like the power system stabilizers (PSS)[clarification needed] installed on generators are very expensive, require complex integration in the grid's control system, are needed only during emergencies, but are only effective if other suppliers on the network have them. Without any incentive to install them, power suppliers don't.
Most utilities find it difficult to justify installing a communications infrastructure for a single application (e.g. meter reading). Because of this, a utility must typically identify several applications that will use the same communications infrastructure – for example, reading a meter, monitoring power quality, remote connection and disconnection of customers, enabling demand response, etc. Ideally, the communications infrastructure will not only support near-term applications, but unanticipated applications that will arise in the future.
Regulatory or legislative actions can also drive utilities to implement pieces of a smart grid puzzle. Each utility has a unique set of business, regulatory, and legislative drivers that guide its investments. This means that each utility will take a different path to creating their smart grid and that different utilities will create smart grids at different adoption rates.
Some features of smart grids draw opposition from industries that currently are, or hope to provide similar services. An example is competition with cable and DSL Internet providers from broadband over powerline internet access.
Providers of SCADA control systems for grids have intentionally designed proprietary hardware, protocols and software so that they cannot inter-operate with other systems in order to tie its customers to the vendor.
With the advent of cybercrime there is also concern on the security of the infrastructure, primarily that involving communications technologies.
Concerns chiefly center around the communications technology at the heart of the smart grid. Designed to allow real-time contact between utilities and meters in customers' homes and businesses, there is a very real risk that these capabilities could be exploited for criminal or even terrorist actions.
One of the key capabilities of this connectivity is the ability to remotely switch off power supplies, enabling utilities to quickly and easily cease or modify supplies to customers who default on payment. This undoubtedly a massive boon for energy providers, but also raises some significant security issues.
Cybercriminals have infiltrated the U.S. electric grid before on numerous occasions. Aside from computer infiltration, there are also concerns that computer malware like Stuxnet, which targeted systems on the SCADA software language widely used in industry, could do to a smart grid network.