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Arbitrage in Energy Markets: Competing in the Incumbent's Shadow

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  • Kupper, G.
  • Willems, Bert

    (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)

Abstract

This paper studies the welfare implications of using market mechanisms to allocate transmission capacity in recently liberalized electricity markets. It questions whether access to this essential facility should be traded on a market, or whether the incumbent should retain exclusive usage rights. We show that granting exclusive use to the incumbent might be optimal, if the capacity of the essential facility is small and the incumbent can reduce production costs by taking advantage of interregional production-cost differences. This result counters the intuition that arbitrage will improve the social surplus when there is no output contraction. The reason is that when competition is imperfect, arbitrage might reduce production efficiency. We advise policymakers to introduce market mechanisms for the allocation of transmission capacity only if sufficient investment in the network is ensured or if the market power of the incumbent is broken in at least one of the markets in which it is active.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research in its series Discussion Paper with number 2007-094.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:kubcen:2007094

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Web page: http://center.uvt.nl

Related research

Keywords: Arbitrage; electricity sector; price discrimination;

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  1. Reza Ahmadi & B. Rachel Yang, 2000. "Parallel Imports: Challenges from Unauthorized Distribution Channels," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 19(3), pages 279-294, March.
  2. Schmalensee, Richard., 1980. "Output and welfare implications of monopolistic third-degree price discrimination," Working papers 1095-80., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  3. Layson, Stephen, 1988. "Third-Degree Price Discrimination, Welfare and Profits: A Geometrical Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1131-32, December.
  4. L. Wade, 1988. "Review," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 99-100, July.
  5. Severin Borenstein & James Bushnell & Steven Stoft, 1997. "The Competitive Effects of Transmission Capacity in a Deregulated Electricity Industry," NBER Working Papers 6293, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Richard Gilbert & Neuhoff, K. & Newbery, D., 2002. "Allocating Transmission to Mitigate Market Power in Electricity Networks," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0225, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  7. Joskow, Paul L & Tirole, Jean, 1999. "Transmission Rights and Market Power on Electric Power Networks I: Financial Rights," CEPR Discussion Papers 2093, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Varian, Hal R, 1985. "Price Discrimination and Social Welfare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 870-75, September.
  9. Malueg, David A, 1993. "Bounding the Welfare Effects of Third-Degree Price Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 1011-21, September.
  10. Shih, Jun-ji & Mai, Chao-cheng & Liu, Jung-chao, 1988. "A General Analysis of the Output Effect under Third-Degree Price Discrimination," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(389), pages 149-58, March.
  11. Bert Willems, 2002. "Barring consumers from the electricity network might improve welfare," Energy, Transport and Environment Working Papers Series ete0213, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën, Energy, Transport and Environment.
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