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Demand response can play a very relevant role in future power systems in which distributed generation can help to assure service continuity in some fault situations. This paper deals with the demand response concept and discusses its use in the context of competitive electricity markets and intensive use of distributed generation. The paper presents DemSi, a demand response simulator that allows studying demand response actions and schemes using a realistic network simulation based on PSCAD. Demand response opportunities are used in an optimized way considering flexible contracts between consumers and suppliers. A case study evidences the advantages of using flexible contracts and optimizing the available generation when there is a lack of supply.