Just saw this article in today’s New York Times. A pilot project in Washington State gave ratepayers live data on their energy consumption and let them make consumption changes (e.g., furnace and water heater thermostat adjustments) remotely in response to market conditions, resulting in an average 10% reduction in consumption across the sample.
This is a much more integrated (and capital-intensive) approach to the idea I offered last night, but the underlying principle is the same: give people greater visibility into their energy consumption, plus an incentive (financial or social) to reduce it and consumption will come down.
As you might expect, I love this idea. I would get addicted to watching my consumption changes real time.