The political push for smart grid and smart meter technology in the US began with
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) that mandates improved efficiency of buildings, vehicles, buildings, light bulbs and other products.  EISA
also includes extensive provisions relating to smart grids and smart metering. The law
directs states to encourage utilities to initiate smart grid programs, allows recovery of smart grid investments through utility rates, and reimbursed 20% of qualifying smart grid investments.
"In 2008, Massachusetts passed the Green Communities Act (the Act), which contained a Smart Grid provision. Section 85 of the Act required each electric distribution company to file a proposed plan for a smart grid pilot program with the department of public utilities. The Act required a specific objective of the pilot program be to reduce peak and average loads by a minimum of 5 per cent for those customers participating in the pilot." [12a]
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided $4.5 billion to develop smart grid infrastructure in the U.S. [12b] and includes funding to motivate installation of wireless smart meters (aka “Advanced Metering Infrastructure” or “AMI”)
by offering up to 50% cost sharing to utilities that would adopt such meters. §405 of The Stimulus (2009 Recovery Act) amends The Energy Bill of 2007 to reimburse electric utilities up to 50% of their investment costs into advanced smart grid demonstration projects. [12c] Sections pertinent to smart metering are summarized here: 
National Grid US First proposed its $45 million pilot for Worcester in 2008 as part of the Green Communities Act. The federal government, as part of its $4.5 billion for Grid modernization projects made a Smart Grid Investment Grant for "Customer Systems" in Central Mass. in 2009. 
In 2009 NG posted plans on Google for smart grid projects with smart meter deployments in Worcester, Syracuse, Albany and Newport areas.  There are 270
Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) projects worldwide. Such megaprojects are
meant to increase efficiency primarily from a central generation and distribution
perspective as in the paradigm we have had since the dawn of electric power.
Smart Metering Projects worldwide (Google Map found on http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/.)
In an effort to become one of the first communities in Massachusetts "Meeting Green Community Designation Criteria" the city did the following in 2010: * The city amended its zoning ordinance to expedite and favor alternative energy installations like wind turbines and manufacturing facilities for same. (Criterions 1 & 2) * The city established policies to reduce "Municipal Building Energy Use (Criterion 3)" * The city established policies to reduce "Municipal Vehicle Fleet Fuel Usage (Criterion 4)" * The city adopted the state's "Building ‘Stretch Energy’ Code (Criterion 5)" that requires "all new residential construction over 3,000 square feet and all new commercial and industrial real estate construction to minimize, to the extent feasible, the life-cycle cost of the facility by utilizing energy efficiency, water conservation and other renewable or alternative energy technologies." These measures made Worcester eligible for green energy related grants under Massachusetts' Green Communities Act.  "On February 11, 4 2011, [National Grid], for various reasons, moved to withdraw
its 2009 Pilot. [MassDPU] approved the Motion on March 4, 2011. On December 23, 2011, the Company filed a new Pilot which, the Company says, “maintains many of the features of the original pilot proposed by the Company in D.P.U. 09-32.”"  The pilot was approved by MA DPU August 2, 2012 with a $44 Million grant from MassDPU to include:
" º 2-year opt-out pilot: ~15,000 Smart Meters º Dynamic pricing options º 5 % Savings Goal º Home energy management devices/tools º Outreach and Education, Downtown Sustainability Hub" 
However alternative and renewable sources of energy work better when used in proximity to where they are generated and lend themselves more versatile in their scalability to be deployed near the demand. There will continue to be need of reliable base load generation capacity. Its role would seeming decrease as renewable capacity increases but adoption of small scale solar & wind at the customer's end is being blocked politically by the owners of the present distribution systems. 
In Massachusetts there has been a "Net Metering Cap" that was only increased in 2012 and 2014 and is to be increased again in 2016. This limits the total capacity of all solar, wind and other renewable energy generation on a utility's system to 4% (private) and 5% (publicly owned) of that distribution company's total peak output. [19a] While this protects companies from excess competition the cap has hindered installation of
alternative energy capacity and stunted growth of the solar and wind industries.
Who made Worcester into National Grid's Petri Dish?
In August, 2015 National Grid President Marcy Reed referred to Worcester as a Petri Dish at a "Community Connections" event she hosted in Auburn. National Grid led a
Green2Growth Community Conference, also sponsored by the City/WBDC, Clark, WPI and others in In September, 2011 at which some 300 people, representing a cross section of government, business, educators and environmental groups that brought together city leaders, business & non profit leaders, academics and others for a two day 'visioning' summit at which these key players were educated, inspired - and enticed with opportunities and options and encouraged to 'brainstorm' roles that could be played by those
in particular positions to bring about a more sustainable energy future for Worcester. This summit was largely sponsored and orchestrated by National Grid. See Flyer. A local group complained that lip service was being given 
Public records of the amounts that various industries spend on lobbying federal lawmakers indicate the amounts spent on lobbying by all electric utilities spiked from 2007-2014 and maxed out in 2010.  National Grid's efforts peaked in 2012. [22a] These monies could be used for whatever legislative concerns prevail at the time, for instance, clean air restrictions or storage of coal ash. But in the years after the Energy and Security Act of 2007 greater emphasis is on smart technology to make electric power production, distribution and usage more efficient. National Grid, as part of what seemed like a well thought-out and pre-orchestrated plan, put on the Green to Growth Summit in 2011, then submitted its green washed marketing plans for deployment of smart technology to Worcester City Council's "Public Service and Transportation Committee". , [23a] Was the Green2Growth summit a form of local lobbying by National Grid to get their $48 million smart grid / smart meter pilot project accepted by Worcester's leaders?
19 "Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid" details how & why "Smart Grid" is being touted as a solution. It mostly benefits utilities, is even being subsidized by governments but promises little in energy savings compared to distributed green generation.