I think in places like California where they sometimes have rolling black outs they also have peak and off peak hours. My washer/drier has a feature that you can use to turn them on some number of hours in the future. Thus you can set it, and it will turn on when "off peak" hours are in play. Doing so would reduce my electric bill.
Too bad Duke Energy doesn't off peak and off peak rates to residential customers in my area (pdf).
I guess this means we have plenty of electricity.