Re: Uncooperative energy customer behavior
@Lyndon. Good point about reducing air conditioning's draw on energy when it is needed most. That seems to make as much sense as turning off your lights when everyone else has theirs on -- when it's dark.
Actually, cutting back on the energy draw at peak times does make sense when it's done right. However, the motivation on the part of the utilities isn't to make the world a greener, happier place. Meeting the growing demands at peak periods would mean adding more generating capacity and upgrading the grid overall; which wouldn't be great for the environment but also would add to the utilities' costs.
That's why some utilities and big corporations sign on with energy management companies like EnerNOC, which provides big energy customers with what amounts to rebates on their energy bills if they allow EnerNOC's systems to step down their energy usage at key periods. That cutback in energy is relatively minimal: You might walk through a building and it isn't dark but for a short period of time the lights aren't quite as bright as usual, and the AC still works but maybe at a degree or two off the ideal temp.
I think one of the keys to peak energy management will be associated with renewable energy sources. Those work best when paired with energy storage systems such as new forms of industrial grade batteries, which store power for use when the renewable sources aren't generating (after sunset for solar, on calm days for wind). Those storage systems also can feed back power to the grid at the times you mention, when it's hot and AC systems are sucking up power.