Regulators in Southern California, home to one of the most inefficient energy markets in the country, invite citizens to "Flex your power now!" by conserving energy in response to periodic alerts instead of facing the real price of energy in a heat wave. With consumers left in the dark about prices, it's no surprise more black-outs are expected this summer, along with very low traffic at the Conserve-O-Meter.
New technology is already here to help. If California energy prices did move with with consumer demand, users could cut costs with new price-tied meters that automatically adjust energy use based on information about price changes or peak hours.