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Understanding Competitive Pricing and Market Power in Wholesale Electricity Markets

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  • Borenstein, Severin

Abstract

Discussions of competition in restructured electricity markets have revealed many misunderstandings about the definition, diagnosis, and implications of market power. In this paper, I attempt to clarify the meaning of market power and show how it can be distinguished from competitive pricing in markets with significant short-run supply constraints. I also address two common myths about market power: (a) that it is present in all markets and (b) that it must be present in order for firms to remain profitable in markets with significant fixed costs. I conclude by arguing that, while a finding of market power in an industry does not necessarily indicate that government intervention is warranted, such analysis is an important part of creating sound public policy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley in its series Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series with number qt00p2p3wv.

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Date of creation: 02 Aug 1999
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:compol:qt00p2p3wv

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Keywords: competition; electricity markets;

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Cited by:
  1. Severin Borenstein, 2002. "The Trouble With Electricity Markets: Understanding California's Restructuring Disaster," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 191-211, Winter.
  2. Lynne Kiesling & Bart Wilson, 2007. "An experimental analysis of the effects of automated mitigation procedures on investment and prices in wholesale electricity markets," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 313-334, June.
  3. Bunn, Derek W. & Day, Christopher J., 2009. "Computational modelling of price formation in the electricity pool of England and Wales," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 363-376, February.
  4. Goto, Mika & Karolyi, G. Andrew, 2004. "Understanding Electricity Price Volatility within and across Markets," Working Paper Series 2004-12, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
  5. Macatangay, Rafael Emmanuel A., 2001. "Market definition and dominant position abuse under the new electricity trading arrangements in England and Wales," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 337-340, April.
  6. Rafael Macatangay, 2002. "Tacit Collusion in the Frequently Repeated Multi-Unit Uniform Price Auction for Wholesale Electricity in England and Wales," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 257-273, May.

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