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The fundamental way of operating the power grid has not changed for the past century. It has remained essentially the same, although the number of consumers and their needs have grown exponentially. Utilities across the world are trying to figure out how to bring the network into the 21st century and the digital computer age. This effort will make the power grid more intelligent; the latter is broadly referred to as the smart grid (SG). However, while modern technologies have transformed much of the economy, the electric industry and in particular the distribution grid has not yet embraced or implemented these technologies. This paper reviews works related to smart grid, presents the need for smart grid technologies by identifying its benefits along with different areas of its application for the realization of reliable and efficient grid structure. Proper utilization of these technologies could bring improvement to the operation of smart grids and possibly eliminate the challenges they encounter.