Obama announces plan to update National Grid

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The Obama administration outlined a plan to upgrade the U.S. electric grid, providing as much as $250 million in loans for rural towns and urging steps that would bar utilities from using market power to raise prices.

The strategy encourages state and federal regulators to favor “smart-grid” technologies such as advanced meters that can increase energy efficiency. It advises protections for consumers against anti-competitive actions as companies develop services to take advantage of new technologies.

State and U.S. antitrust agencies should “address the possibility that some firms with substantial market power are in a position to impede the market entry of new products and energy management applications,” according to the plan released today.

Full story: Obama Pledges $250 Million to Upgrade Aging U.S. Electric Grid