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Condition monitoring of smart grid assets in a near real time manner is essential for the success of emerging smart grid applications. Wireless Sensor and Actor Networks (WSANs) are likely to be widely employed in a wide range of smart grid applications due to their various advantages. Transmitting delay-critical data from smart grid assets to the controller base station may require data prioritization and delay-responsiveness in condition monitoring applications. In this paper, we introduce a medium access scheme, namely delay-responsive, cross layer (DRX) data transmission that aims to address delay and service differentiation requirements of the smart grid. The DRX scheme is based on delay-estimation and data prioritization procedures that are performed by the application layer for which the MAC layer responds to the delay requirements of the smart grid application and the network condition. We provide a comprehensive performance evaluation of this scheme and show that DRX reduces the end-to-end delay and provide data prioritization to critical data. We outline the tradeoffs regarding this scheme and draw future research directions for robust communication protocols for smart grid condition monitoring applications.