A power management architecture for an electrical power distribution system, or portion thereof, is disclosed. The architecture includes multiple intelligent electronic devices (“IED's”) distributed throughout the power distribution system to manage the flow and consumption of power from the system. The IED's are linked via a network to back-end servers. Security mechanisms are further provided which protect and otherwise ensure the authenticity of communications transmitted via the network in furtherance of the management of the distribution and consumption of electrical power by the architecture. In particular, public key cryptography is employed to identify components of the architecture and provide for secure communication of power management data among those components. Further, certificates and certificate authorities are utilized to further ensure integrity of the security mechanism.