You are right that this will be a way for the power industry to charge us more. Hence my reason for the "buzzword generator for politicians to sell is to the ignorant consumer" comment. Simply put "Smart" is the new "Green".
As far as DC is concerned, I feel we should have AC into the house where we use the grid to run appliances which are more efficient on AC (as you named a dew) as well as use a grid tie inverter to sell the surplus back to the power company, but we need legislation to make this available in all states.
CFLs don't work worth beans on DC. The need the AC to run through the ballast to step up the voltage to get the gas to emit light. Yes you can do that on DC too, but the AC process is at least twice as efficient. That said, using DC to run LED lighting (done properly) is about twice as efficient as CFLs and last many times longer. Further they produce less hazmat as waste in both the production and disposal.
Keep Up with TechRepublic