A bidirectional data communications distribution network is established between the system operations center (SOC) and customer terminals of a load management and electrical energy distribution system. The distribution network comprises independent processor controlled, primary communications interface units (PCI) in communication with the SOC over telephone lines or other medium. Each PCI is in turn in communication with a plurality of independent processor controlled, secondary communications interface units (SCI) over electrical utility primary distribution power lines. Signals between PCIs and SCIs on the primary distribution power lines are code division multiplexed using direct sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) signal processing. Each SCI continuously polls a number of assigned customer load terminals on the low voltage side of the electrical energy distribution system, storing and calculating meter register readings and load status.