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The development of Smart Grids, which has taken considerable momentum and efforts, is underway to implement rapidly systems that materialize concepts, that only few years ago were only ideas about how to develop a new electrical infrastructure with benefits for all actors and in particular for the end users. A number of projects that are underway do classify as Smart Grids but some rather implement conventional techniques. This paper presents a reference model that allows to clearly catalogue projects based on a layer approach similar as the OSI reference model that has been guiding communication development for about four decades. Specific rules based on the reference model to define what elements shall be part of Smart Grid project are proposed together with examples of typical projects that have been or are being implemented by utilities. The model is proposed to map interoperability issues, standards and other elements that in the proposed framework can be better understood for both technical and non-technical involved actors.