Telecommunications operators are well versed in deploying 2G and 3G wireless networks. These networks presently support the mobile business user and/or retail consumer wishing to place conventional voice calls and data connections. The electrical power industry has recently commenced transformation of its distribution networks by deploying smart monitoring and control devices throughout their networks. This evolution of the network into a 'smart grid' has also motivated the need to deploy wireless technologies that bridge the communication gap between the smart devices and information technology systems. The requirements of these networks differ from traditional wireless networks that communications operators have deployed, which have thus far forced energy companies to consider deploying their own wireless networks. We present our experience in deploying wireless networks to support the smart grid and highlight the key properties of these networks. These characteristics include application awareness, support for large numbers of simultaneous cell connections, high service coverage and prioritized routing of data. We also outline our target blueprint architecture that may be useful to the industry in building these networks. By observing our experiences, telecommunications operators and equipment manufacturers will be able to augment their current networks and products in a way that accommodates the needs of the emerging industry of smart grid and intelligent electrical networks.