As the electric transmission and distribution networks gain smartness from the use of renewable energies and latest measurement and communication technologies, also the utilities become smart. In a modern utility several energy sources are present and energy efficiency has to be guaranteed. Therefore, in order to be a smart utility, it has to be equipped with a measurement and control network to efficiently manage the various energy sources and loads. In this paper a low cost solution for the real-time energy management in a smart grid is presented. It provides several power meters, that continuously monitor connected loads communicating with a Data Concentrator via Power Line bus. Through the implemented web server the users can remotely control their consumption using a web browser. To prevent external attacks, a low computational cost protection software, based on Advanced Encryption Standard Code, was implemented. The paper illustrates the hardware architecture, discusses the adopted communication protocol solutions and is completed with an example of energy monitoring for a smart utility. © 2014 IEEE.