This paper investigates load control and demand response in a smart grid environment where a bidirectional communication link between the operator and the smart flexible devices supports command and data flow. Two control schemes are investigated that can provide energy management, taking into account user's comfort, via binary on-off policies of the smart flexible devices. A dynamic control algorithm is introduced that considers real time network characteristics and initiates command flow when critical parameters exceed predefined thresholds. To sustain fairness in the system, priority based and round robin scheduling algorithms are proposed. A continuous control algorithm is also explored to define the higher bounds of energy savings. To quantify the discomfort of users that participate in this type of services, a heuristic consumer utility metric is proposed and measurements with a flexible device (air conditioning unit) are performed to model empirically possible time intervals of the control scheme. Reciprocal fair energy management schemes are investigated being both operator and user centric. It is shown that great energy and cost savings can be achieved providing the required degrees of freedom to the smart grid to self-adapt during peak hours.