IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Why We Need to Stick with Uniform-Price Auctions in Electricity Markets


  • Cramton, Peter
  • Stoft, Steven


Wholesale electricity markets are commonly organized around a spot energy market. Buyers and suppliers submit bids and offers for each hour and the market is cleared at the price that balances supply and demand. Buyers with bids above the clearing price pay that price, and suppliers with offers below the clearing price are paid that same price. This uniform-price auction, which occurs both daily and throughout the day, is complemented by forward energy markets. In practice, between 80 and 95 percent of wholesale electricity is traded in forward energy markets, often a month, or a year, and sometimes many years ahead of the spot market. However, because forward prices reflect spot prices, in the long run, the spot market determines the total cost of energy. It also plays a critical role in the least-cost scheduling and dispatch of resources, and provides an essential price signal both for short-run performance and long-run investment incentives. Arguments that the uniform-price auction yields electricity prices that are systematically too high are incorrect. However, insufficiently hedged spot prices will result in energy costs that fluctuate above and below the long-run average more than regulated prices and more than is socially optimal. Tampering with the spot price would cause inefficiency and raise long-term costs. The proper way to dampen the impact of spot price fluctuations is with long-term hedging. Although re-regulation can provide a hedge, there are less costly approaches.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Cramton, Peter & Stoft, Steven, 2007. "Why We Need to Stick with Uniform-Price Auctions in Electricity Markets," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 26-37.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jelect:v:20:y:2007:i:1:p:26-37

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Henrik Klinge Jacobsen, 2000. "Technology Diffusion in Energy-Economy Models: The Case of Danish Vintage Models," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 43-71.
    2. Jaffe Adam B. & Stavins Robert N., 1995. "Dynamic Incentives of Environmental Regulations: The Effects of Alternative Policy Instruments on Technology Diffusion," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 43-63, November.
    3. Fox-Penner, Peter S, 1990. "Cogeneration after PURPA: Energy Conservation and Industry Structure," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 517-552, October.
    4. Alan D. Woodland, 1993. "A Micro-Econometric Analysis of the Industrial Demand for Energy in NSW," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 57-90.
    5. Pizer, William & Kopp, Raymond & Morgenstern, Richard & Harrington, Winston & Shih, Jhih-Shyang, 2002. "Technology Adoption and Aggregate Energy Efficiency," Discussion Papers dp-02-52, Resources For the Future.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Stadler, Michael & Cardoso, Gonçalo & Mashayekh, Salman & Forget, Thibault & DeForest, Nicholas & Agarwal, Ankit & Schönbein, Anna, 2016. "Value streams in microgrids: A literature review," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 980-989.
    2. Heim, Sven & Götz, Georg, 2013. "Do pay-as-bid auctions favor collusion? Evidence from Germany's market for reserve power," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-035, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    3. repec:eee:rensus:v:81:y:2018:i:p2:p:2181-2195 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Manzano, Carolina & Vives, Xavier, 2016. "Market Power and Welfare in Asymmetric Divisible Good Auctions," CEPR Discussion Papers 11731, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Larson, Nathan & Elmaghraby, Wedad, 2008. "Procurement auctions with avoidable fixed costs: an experimental approach," MPRA Paper 32163, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2011.
    6. Mazaher Haji Bashi & Gholamreza Yousefi & Claus Leth Bak & Jayakrishnan Radhakrishna Pillai, 2016. "Long Term Expected Revenue of Wind Farms Considering the Bidding Admission Uncertainty," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(11), pages 1-17, November.
    7. repec:spr:jogath:v:46:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s00182-016-0549-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Briggs, R.J. & Kleit, Andrew, 2013. "Resource adequacy reliability and the impacts of capacity subsidies in competitive electricity markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 297-305.
    9. Isemonger, Alan G., 2009. "The evolving design of RTO ancillary service markets," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 150-157, January.
    10. Giuseppe Lopomo & Leslie M. Marx & David McAdams & Brian Murray, 2011. "Carbon Allowance Auction Design: An Assessment of Options for the United States," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 5(1), pages 25-43, Winter.
    11. Bergler, Julian & Heim, Sven & Hüschelrath, Kai, 2017. "Strategic capacity withholding through failures in the German-Austrian electricity market," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 210-221.
    12. Martin Bichler & Pasha Shabalin & Jürgen Wolf, 2013. "Do core-selecting Combinatorial Clock Auctions always lead to high efficiency? An experimental analysis of spectrum auction designs," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 16(4), pages 511-545, December.
    13. de Frutos, Maria-Angeles & Fabra, Natalia & Von der Fehr, Nils-Henrik M, 2008. "Investment Incentives and Auction Design in Electricity Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 6626, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. David McAdams & Giuseppe Lopomo & Leslie Marx & Brian Murray, "undated". "Carbon Allowance Auction Design: An Assessment of Options for the U.S," Working Papers 10-64, Duke University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jelect:v:20:y:2007:i:1:p:26-37. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.