Federal Energy Regulatory Commission nationwide data show the effort to bring about customer demand-response during extreme energy conditions is creeping along with digital meter installations. Many meters reveal real time power prices and are expected to motivate end-users to reduce consumption when power supplies are short and cost more. California is far ahead of the nation in digital meter installation, but the state\u2019s ability to cut electrical use during times of crimped supplies is more a function of demand-response aggregators\u2014like EnerNOC and Comverge\u2014than of end-use customer response. In this state, demand-response largely depends on third-party aggregators who offer a discount on rates in return for dropping use when dispatched to do so. While many end-use customers in California have digital meters, they have yet to be connected to real-time pricing. Thus, even though the cost of electricity may be high and coincident demand-response may be called upon, end-use meter users have no direct signals to lessen demand. The Feb. 3 FERC report notes that 8.7 percent of the nation has digital meters installed. \u201cThe potential demand-response resource contribution from all U.S. demand response programs is estimated to be more than 58,000 MW,\u201d about 7.6 percent of peak demand, notes the report. The federal agency gave a nod to California\u2019s foray to protect privacy in association with \u201csmart\u201d meter data. The California Public Utilities Commission began to investigate how to shield consumer information post-meter installation with public workshops in late October 2010. The meters can reveal such details about utility customers as when they are home or on their computer.