The study aims at unveiling the potential of smart grids technology deployment in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Regions. Founding on a general discussion of the smart grids functionalities and on the description of the progressive evolution of an electricity system from the present state towards the full deployment of smart grids concept, the study puts the concept into the LAC context through the preliminary analysis of the present situation in six representative countries. Challenges and opportunities for the evolution of the local systems towards smart grids are pointed out, motivating policy makers to address the subject and understand its potential. Although acknowledging the wide difference between the network situations in the LAC region, the different drivers that may motivate the network development and the consequent variety of targets to be reached, a general Decalogue is proposed highlighting the most important implementation priorities to be considered. The instrumental role of CEPAL in this process is also put in evidence, at the light of the recent developments in the international smart grids community.