Wired has a timely story about putting more of the automated and non-automated decisions behind the use of electrical power
into and around households. From the summary: "If the electric grid stops being just a passive supplier of juice, consumers could make choices about how and when to consume power. Power providers and tech companies are working to redesign the grid so you can switch off your house when high demand strains the system, or program your house or appliances to make that move."
A similar story is featured right now on PhysOrg, highlighting a particular pilot project involving "smart meters" in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania