Economic, political, environmental, social and technical factors have prompted the emergence of the smart grid concept. Distribution systems are arguably the element of power delivery infrastructures where smart grid technologies are likely to have the most significant impacts. The smart grid concept has driven the coordinated and integrated application of existing power, communications, control, and information technologies at distribution system level. Furthermore, it has impelled the development and implementation of new technologies, tools and approaches for optimizing the operation of distribution systems, empowering customers, and creating new products and services. Expectedly, all these factors have also contributed to the emergence of new issues and challenges. The objective of this panel is to discuss and present novel applications of smart grid technologies on power distribution systems including integration of distributed energy resources, plug-in electric vehicles, distribution automation, and distribution system optimization.