This paper presents an innovative approach to formulate a customer-oriented demand response (DR) program in the electricity market using the analytic hierarchy process (AHP). AHP could represent the mutual importance degrees of load reduction criteria from the various viewpoints of load-holders. Thus, the proposed DR program (DRP) could provide the reasonable decision-support process for load-holders, because the participation or nonparticipation is determined by the incentive payments corresponding to the specific load reduction conditions. The proposed DRP has the objective to maintain the system reliability at the emergency period, and it is designed as an incentive-based program (IBP) considering the real-time and by-directional operation. The modified IEEE 24-bus system for the case study is used to demonstrate the usefulness and applicability of the proposed approach, and the load profiles with the proposed DRP and the required incentive payments are obtained. The results show not only the enhancement to the system reliability but also the economic benefits within Pareto-improvement.