The Smart Grid initiative describes the collaborative effort to modernize the U.S. electric power infrastructure. Modernization efforts incorporate digital data and information technology to effectuate control, enhance reliability, encourage small customer sited distributed generation (DG), and better utilize assets. The Smart Grid environment is envisioned to include distributed generation, flexible and controllable loads, bidirectional communications using smart meters and other technologies. Sensory technology may be utilized as a tool that enhances operation including operation of the distribution system. Addressing this point, a distribution system state estimation algorithm is developed in this thesis. The state estimation algorithm developed here utilizes distribution system modeling techniques to calculate a vector of state variables for a given set of measurements. Measurements include active and reactive power flows, voltage and current magnitudes, phasor voltages with magnitude and angle information. The state estimator is envisioned as a tool embedded in distribution substation computers as part of distribution management systems (DMS); the estimator acts as a supervisory layer for a number of applications including automation (DA), energy management, control and switching. The distribution system state estimator is developed in full three-phase detail, and the effect of mutual coupling and single-phase laterals and loads on the solution is calculated. The network model comprises a full three-phase admittance matrix and a subset of equations that relates measurements to system states. Network equations and variables are represented in rectangular form. Thus a linear calculation procedure may be employed. When initialized to the vector of measured quantities and approximated non-metered load values, the calculation procedure is non-iterative. This dissertation presents background information used to develop the state estimation algorithm, considerations for distribution system modeling, and the formulation of the state estimator. Estimator performance for various power system test beds is investigated. Sample applications of the estimator to Smart Grid systems are presented. Applications include monitoring, enabling demand response (DR), voltage unbalance mitigation, and enhancing voltage control. Illustrations of these applications are shown. Also, examples of enhanced reliability and restoration using a sensory based automation infrastructure are shown.