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Many studies have investigated the smart grid architecture and communication models in the past few years. However, the communication model and architecture for a smart grid still remain unclear. Today's electric power distribution is very complex and maladapted because of the lack of efficient and cost-effective energy generation, distribution, and consumption management systems. A wireless smart grid communication system can playan important role in achieving these goals. In thispaper, we describe a smart grid communication architecture in which we merge customers and distributors into a single domain. In the proposed architecture, all the home area networks, neighborhood area networks, and local electrical equipment form a local wireless mesh network (LWMN). Each device or meter can act as a source, router, or relay. The data generated in any node (device/meter) reaches the data collector via other nodes. The data collector transmits this data via the access point of a wide area network (WAN). Finally, data is transferred to the service provider or to the control center of the smart grid. We propose a wireless cooperative communication model for the LWMN. We deploy a limited number of smart relays to improve the performance of the network. A novel relay selection mechanism is also proposed to reduce the relay selection overhead. Simulation results show that our cooperative smart grid (coopSG) communication model improves the end-to-end packet delivery latency, throughput, and energy efficiency over both the Wang et al. and Niyato et al. models.