The challenges associated with improving grid function and ensuring customer value are universal, whether addressed in the context of an independent system operator (ISO) or not. Some utilities choose to join ISOs for the increased coordination in resource procurement, transmission, and planning, or for access to new technologies enabling them to integrate larger amounts of variable energy resources at least cost. In contrast, others shy away from the associated financial and personnel burdens, don’t find the ISO’s complex system of rules and protocols beneficial, or are simply unable to join an ISO. Fortunately, non-ISO utilities can coordinate or consolidate their responsibilities, either actually or virtually, to integrate variable energy resources effectively and provide cost mitigating options to electricity system consumers. Success is dependent on focusing the changes on functionality and customer value to improve reliability and minimize costs.