The idea behind demand response is to reduce energy use (instead of generating more energy) at moments of peak demand, in order to save utilities money and improve the efficiency of the power grid. It's already a big business, but a proposal from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) could make it even bigger, by setting rules that would offer companies the same price for both generating electricity (measured in megawatts) and reducing peak energy use (measured in "negawatts"). That, in turn, could lead to new and interesting ways for broader energy-efficiency technologies to pay for themselves.
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