The state’s utlities industry is searching for ways to keep residents powered up and plugged in as demand for energy is expected to surge. One idea is to introduce what leaders of the industry call Smart End Devices into residents’ homes. President Chuck Caisley with the Missouri Energy Development Association says these devices are household items such as air conditioning units or refrigerators that could communicate with utility companies to determine forecasted weather and expected peaks in energy use. He says the appliances could then work in "smart" way, using less energy to cool down in cooler temperatures in the morning and letting the appliance gradually rise to normal temperatures during the hotter afternoons.  He says the appliances would then be using less energy during peak times. Plus, he says it gives the consumers options in energy prices. Caisley adds the devices would also put keep money circulating within local communities through investments in energy efficiency programs instead of being used to purchase coal produced outside the state.

Vice President Clark Gellings with the Electric Power Research Institute says there is no one silver bullet for implementing efficient energy production though and he says it will take a portfolio of technologies to meet increasing demands for energy.

AUDIO: Laura McNamara reports (:60 MP3)