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This paper discusses AuRA-NMS, an autonomous regional active network management system currently being developed in the UK through a partnership between several UK universities, two distribution network operators (DNO) and ABB. The scope of control to be undertaken by AuRA-NMS includes: automatic restoration, voltage control, power flow management and implementation of network performance optimisation strategies. The paper briefly describes AuRA-NMS and its position in the context of future "intelligent"/"smart" networks. The paper focuses on two key elements of the delivery of a demonstrable version of AuRA-NMS: its agent-based software architecture and the hardware platform on which it will initially be deployed. The paper concludes with a short discussion of the role of MAS technology in future energy networks with reference to its use in AuRA-NMS.