First of all, I agree with all the comment posts that was made by others previously.
A scant amount of money cannot scratch the itch of a growing problem. Starting with testbeds and deployment testing in small cities will prove that the system will likely to work in larger scales. Small progressive deployment and testing of the new system, with useful feedback of the end users, white-hat hackers, academia, the industry will help save money. Firmware of the hardware can be upgraded remotely to reduce testbed costs.
With the deployment of IPv6, the vast IP address space allows anonymity on which IP addresses the power grid servers are using, IP scanners are useless in IPv6, for sure. If a power grid server get hacked, just change its IP address to avoid the same hack at least for a while! If IPv6 is not going to be used in the power grid, it would be my major disappointment to see that happening.
Just like every other country in the world, the people are torn between indecision, doubts, apathy, ignorance and inaction on their own critical issues, the United States is no exception.
As the United States government is having severe ongoing budget cuts on education and researches, we need to compromise. I contend that the new power grid should allow some rooms for software flexibility so that the power utility companies can upgrade and standardize their systems later. To relieve this problem, the best is not to deploy the latest and unproven technology that may yield trouble later on. Often the most advanced technologies are the hardest to deploy. We need to get at least something out there to relieve the problem and hardware should be sufficiently upgradable to take in encryption and new architectures. The day the new solution is not deployed, the old power grid will be the same old power grid. We know that we all wanted to get a gold medal in a sport competition, you would rather to have a bronze than to get nothing at all, and that applies to the situation of the United States power grid.
The timing is critical. Do it now before the last straw of resource and money is gone!