Recent electricity price spikes in California are a painful example of how customers are overly impacted by the changing electricity markets. Unfortunately, these customers have little or no control over the electricity market. In general, the present U.S. electricity markets are not typical by any standard, at least not for small customers. While both homeowners and small businesses freely shop around for many commodities and buy items on sale or at quantity discount prices, this has not been possible in the case of electricity. And why not? If the markets were open, available on a "real-time" basis, and users could avoid blindly purchasing during price spikes, it would not only benefit them financially, it would greatly reduce the spiking and improve the availability of electricity. Allowing customers to actively manage/change their loads in response to system conditions might be thought of as the ultimate reliability resource.