Since electricity isn't a commodity for consumers (the price does not fluctuate from day to day....yet) and the rates are all published, you don't really need a price sensitive thermostat, just someone who understands the utility rates well enough to take advantage of the issues I discussed in my previous post. For consumers, this isn't much of an issue, but for businesses --- well, my dad makes a very comfortable living dealing mostly with this exact issue for businesses. There are all sorts of complexities and some companies do, in fact, use devices that regulate their power use based on the price impact of the usage.Thanks. What did you think of my "price sensitive thermostat" proposal? Does it make sense to you?
There are some heating units that also do this. Heat pumps can be up to 3x more efficient than regular electric heat, but the efficiency decreases with outside temperature. And at some set of temperature and energy costs (I've calculated it before, but I'm not sure what it is right now), it becomes cheaper to heat your house with gas or oil. Carrier sells a combination heat pump/furnace that has a control algorithm that decides which to use at any given time.
There are other things you can do. My gas service is propane, which makes it only marginally cheaper than straight electric heating. So I use an electric space heater in whatever room I'm occupying at the time (providing some, but not all of the room's heat) and keep the rest of the house much cooler.