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This article presents an overview of the background, technology, regulation, and standardization in the course of deploying smart utility networks (SUNs) in TV white space (TVWS) communications, two wireless technologies currently receiving overwhelming interest in the wireless industry and academia. They are independent to and uncorrelated with each other, but share the same mission: conserving resources and increasing efficiency. This article reviews the systems as separate technologies, and then combines them to propose a hybrid solution that draws out their respective advantages. The first part focuses on SUNs and describes the SUN usage model with typical application requirements and practical examples, followed by the latest developments in standardization initiatives with emphasis on the currently active IEEE 802.15.4g and 802.11ah groups. The second part discusses TVWS, studying and summarizing the regulations governing its usage, and then reports on the standardization bodies' responses to these regulations with a focus on IEEE 802.11af, 802.19.1, and 802.22. Finally, the third part amalgamates the SUN usage model with TVWS regulations and deployment scenarios, providing relationship mapping between the SUN components and regulation-compliant TVWS devices. Further discussions concentrate on the opportunities and challenges along the path of realizing a practical SUN in the TVWS spectrum under the current technical and regulatory conditions. Several recommendations are made from both regulatory and technical standpoints to further increase utilization of SUNs in TVWS.