The traditional paradigm for power grid operation is to continuously adapt energy production to demand. This paradigm is challenged by the increasing penetration of renewable sources, that are more variable and less predictable. An alternative approach is the direct load control of some inherently flexible electric loads to shape the demand. Direct control of deferrable loads presents analogies with flow admission control in telecommunication networks: a request for network resources (bandwidth or energy) can be delayed on the basis of the current network status in order to guarantee some performance metrics. In this paper we go beyond such an analogy, showing that usual teletraffic tools can be effectively used to control energy loads. In particular, we propose a family of control schemes which can be easily tuned to achieve the desired trade-off among resource usage, control overhead and privacy leakage.