The Idaho Public Utilities Commission announced that it would allow Idaho Power Company, which covers much of the southern part of the state, to offer lower electricity rates for customers who agree to move around when they use power.
The idea of this type of plan is to help utility companies smooth out variations in electricity demand so that they can run their most efficient power plants as much as possible without needing to turn to more expensive "peaking" plants that make up for gaps in generation. Idaho Power Company will be allowed to ask 1,200 customers to use more of their electricity at night and on weekends, when demand is generally lower.
But while Idaho might be seeing some changes, policies like this are already common in many states that have implemented electricity deregulation. Many retail electricity providers have made use of smart meters to offer time-of-day rates, helping them manage electricity demand purely through market forces, with no involvement from regulators.