@ "The laws of supply and demand" by Anon Coward
Quoted from comments:
"The market could have chosen to motivate people to work their heavy loads (eg aircon) that way by increasing the standard price price per kwh of electricity and offering a discount to people willing to have selected high-demand appliances temporarily disconnected at times of peak demand (the "off peak" concept, except that peak time is no longer defined by the clock on the wall, but by actual real electricity demand). No government intervention needed. The market chooses not to do that, so someone needs to intervene to make something happen."
So Calif Edison _has_ had that plan for more than a decade. We went on it for several years, and we received a break in the electricity rates for allowing them to restrict our usage of power. We had a KW meter for the whole campus, -- I have seen it go well past 2 megawatts on hot days -- which was monitored by So Cal Edison. When they had a power shortage they would call us on a dedicated line, and we were required to shed load, usually by shutting off the HVAC on larger buildings. That seldom happened until the energy shortage of 2000-2001. Because of the power shortage, we reckoned that we would be shutting down often (which meant "business as usual" could no longer take place and sending everyone home was likely), so we got off that plan, even though it cost us more.
So "Been there, done that, got the T-shirt."