If you publish a schedule of prices, and I can save money by modifying my behavior, I'll do it.
My idea is that the power company is allowed to adjust its schedule of prices on the fly. So if the aggregate demand is within the output of a nice clean cheap generating station, the rate is low. If it has to bring a dirty generating station on line, or buy watts from a neighboring country, it raises the rate. And if it's heading for a brownout, it raises the rate stupendously.
And each consumer has a box which connects to the power company, perhaps by AM radio, or perhaps by SMS, that tells him what the current rate is. Maybe it connects to his TV or something; anyway, he gets the chance to say "holy mackerel, I'd better turn off the hot tub". Or he can buy his own super-duper box which controls stuff automatically when he's out. Or he can say "this week I need air conditioning more than that new camera I wanted".
At the end of the year, the power company publishes its data, and if the power company has charged more than the regulatory agency has previously allowed, it gives consumers some sort of refund.
So nothing in the consumer's house is under the direct control of the power company or anybody except the consumer, and no information about his usage leaks out except the level of usage. And the power company has much better options in brownout season.