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Seeking to meet the resilience, efficiency and security challenges of smart grid communications, we present a set of strategies that leverage the benefits of network coding. The key idea is for intermediate nodes in the electrical power grid to store and send linear combinations of data packets they receive or overhear, thus ensuring that critical data can be shared reliably with the grid control system even when some of the connections break down. The impact of network coding on the reliability of multicast channels for control messages is also addressed. Our preliminary analysis of the achievable connectivity with different topologies and communication technologies (power-line and wireless) indicates that network coding techniques are well suited for smart grid communications.