A survey of 104 security professionals in the energy and utility industries shows that the industry is split over the issue of government oversight of smart grid distribution. 

The survey, released on Tuesday by survey sponsors nCircle and EnergySec, states that when asked "Should regulatory oversight for smart grid distribution be transitioned to the Federal government," 40 percent answered "Yes," while 60 percent said "No." 

According to Patrick Miller, CEO of EnergySec, in a press release about the survey: "The modernized grid encompasses new digital components all the way from the toaster to the turbine. It spans local, state and federal regulatory lines. In an environment where innovation is paramount, a federal one-size-fits-all approach may significantly slow down progress. On the other hand, potential inconsistencies in regulatory approaches may introduce complexity and risk smart grid landscape. Either model, whether state or federally regulated, comes with pros and cons. I see the regulatory oversight of the smart grid as one of our biggest challenges with the least obvious solution."

According to a statement by Elizabeth Ireland, vice president of marketing for nCircle, "It's likely that the division of opinion on this topic reflects, at least to some degree, fundamental political beliefs. Some security professionals probably see government regulation in industry as beneficial, and some feel we should minimize the role of government in industry as much as possible. The majority of energy security professionals believe the energy industry will police itself."

News of this survey comes shortly after the results of a previous poll were released on cybersecurity and smart meters. In which, 75 percent of polled energy security professionals believed that proper security measures had not been addressed in recent smart grid deployment.