My power company sent me a flier in the mail about a new energy saving program. If I sign up, they send a technician to install a free programmable thermostat in my home. This thermostat is linked to their computer system, and during peak demand times it will go into "conservation mode." The rest of the time, however, it is mine to control! Bwa ha ha ha ha!
Sounds like another good idea for a science fiction story. What if Nevada Energy wants to take control of the Las Vegas Valley by threatening to shut off all our air conditioning units and cook us in the summer heat? Some clever main-character will have to foil their dastardly plan by figuring out how to disconnect the thermostats and hot-wire the air-conditioning units.
I don't think the literary agents will be lining up for that one.