The New York Times - ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
By DIANE CARDWELL and MATTHEW L. WALDNOV. 26, 2014
Over the past few years, the federal government has nurtured the growth of an odd kind of player in the energy markets: companies that recruit consumers to unplug themselves when electricity use is high, in exchange for a price break.
The companies have been embraced by electric companies and system operators who say they have helped make service more reliable, and even helped avoid rolling blackouts during heat waves.
The approach has also lowered costs for all customers, experts and executives say, as utilities have needed to buy less of the most expensive power to meet peak needs.
“This market had been doing really well and functioning efficiently for quite some time,” said Craig C. Goodman, president of the National Energy Marketers Association, whose members sell electricity to consumers, speaking of the demand-response arrangement.
But that could soon change. Two important cases have challenged the approach, and one of them has won a significant ruling.