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The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act states that all utilities must consider smart grid Technologies when making system investments and improvements. This paper will: Review the language in the Act that sets this requirement; Review the Values and Characteristics of a Smart Grid as defined by the Department of Energy; Discuss how these Values and Characteristics specifically can be applied to rural utility distribution systems; Describe some of the Smart Grid Technologies available today for use on rural distribution utility systems There is increased emphasis today to improve energy and operational efficiency for all distribution systems. Many utilities consider this as an important component in reducing their overall carbon footprint. This is especially challenging in rural areas with long, radial, mostly single phase distribution lines. This paper will discuss not only planning to best utilize the Smart Grid Technologies available to day, but how the planning process can be improved by utilizing the data received from these Technologies. The NRECA Transmission & Distribution System Planning Subcommittee is currently revision the RUS Long Range Planning Guide for Distribution Systems. This paper will discuss how the revised RUS Bulletin will address these Smart Grid topics.