While it might seem counter intuitive, many utilities have an interest in energy-efficiency. It’s a complicated web of issues, but many efficiency measures make “demand response” measures more palatable to home-owners and businesses. This can help with peak demand issues–including reducing the super-high rates that can paid for the extra bit of energy on high-use, “peak”, days. We’ll also see efficiency become a major part of the discussion as most of the regional compacts (the multi-state collections of utilities that make up “The Grid” approach the point where the just don’t have enough capacity to generate electricity on high use days. A lot of people don’t want new power plants in their back yards, and some aging nuke plants are facing increasing calls to shut down over concerns of safety. A complicated issue. An interesting article by Kate Galbraith in the NY Times, “Why Is a Utility Paying Customers?“, touches on some elements of the discussion with a look at Idaho Power.