The smart grid and demand response coalitions envision your air conditioner, water heater, and refrigerator digitally scheduling to keep your house comfortable, your food fresh, and your energy bills low. Now imagine all the hardware required to enable that communication. While the ubiquitous wall outlet has been a NEMA standard for decades, researchers in the UK have smarter replacement on the drawing board. These smart plugs are one of many steps towards enabling real demand response and a true smart grid.

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