Over the next decade, experts expect residential power use to fall, reversing an upward trend that has been almost uninterrupted since Thomas Edison invented the modern light bulb.

In part it’s because Edison’s light bulb is being replaced by more efficient types of lighting, and electric devices of all kinds are getting much more efficient. But there are other factors.

New homes are being built to use less juice, and government subsidies for home energy savings programs are helping older homes use less power. In the short term, the tough economy and a weak housing market are prompting people to cut their usage.