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Le marché québécois de l’électricité : rétrospective et voies de l’avenir

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  • Bernard, Jean-Thomas

    (GREEN, Université Laval)

Abstract

The availability of hydroelectric resources and the institutional framework created for their development have led to electricity prices that are lower in Québec than in the neighbouring regions. The structure of the electric power industry is undergoing significant changes in several countries and market forces are introduced as the co-ordinating mechanism at the production stage. This is the case in the United States and transmission networks are open to third parties since January 1st, 1997. Distribution utilities are now free to purchase electricity from any producers. Due to reciprocity requirements imposed by the US regulatory agency, the government of Québec has opened Hydro-Québec power grid. However there is not yet an open power market in Québec. There are two conflicting forces: first there is a protectionist force which favours the dissipation of the hydroelectric rents through low prices for domestic consumption and second there is the trend toward freer international trade. If we take into account the limited hydropower sites which are yet to be developed and the economic benefits that Québec draws from her electricity trade, the government of Québec will mostly likely bring the adjustments required to realise these benefits. La disponibilité des ressources hydroélectriques et le cadre institutionnel entourant leur développement ont donné lieu à des prix d’électricité qui sont beaucoup plus faibles au Québec que dans les régions voisines. La structure de cette industrie est en train de changer dans plusieurs pays pour laisser la concurrence jouer un rôle plus grand comme mécanisme de coordination entre les demandeurs et les offreurs au niveau de la production. C’est le cas aux États-Unis où les réseaux de transport sont ouverts depuis le 1er janvier 1997. Ce changement permet les échanges entre les producteurs et les distributeurs. Le Québec s’est ajusté en ouvrant son réseau de transport de façon non discriminatoire. Mais, il n’y a pas encore une véritable libéralisation du marché de la production ici même au Québec. Nous sommes en présence de deux tendances : l’une protectionniste, centrée sur le marché local qui bénéficie de la rente hydroélectrique sur la base de faibles prix de l’électricité et l’autre, continentaliste orientée vers l’ouverture pour prendre avantage des opportunités offertes par les échanges. Compte tenu de la quantité limitée de sites hydroélectriques qu’il reste à développer de façon rentable et des bénéfices qui peuvent être retirés des échanges avec les voisins, le Québec apportera probablement les ajustements structurels requis pour permettre la réalisation des bénéfices découlant des échanges d’électricité.

Suggested Citation

  • Bernard, Jean-Thomas, 1999. "Le marché québécois de l’électricité : rétrospective et voies de l’avenir," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 75(4), pages 673-694, décembre.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:actuec:v:75:y:1999:i:4:p:673-694
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Paul L. Joskow & Richard Schmalensee, 1988. "Markets for Power: An Analysis of Electrical Utility Deregulation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262600188, January.
    2. Jean-Thomas Bernard & Stephen Gordon & Josee Tremblay, 1997. "Electricity Prices and Elections in Quebec," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(3), pages 505-525, August.
    3. Bernard, Jean-Thomas & Chatel, Josee, 1985. "The application of marginal cost pricing principles to a hydro-electric system : The case of hydro-Quebec," Resources and Energy, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 353-375, December.
    4. Jean-Thomas Bernard & Michel Roland, 1997. "Rent Dissipation through Electricity Prices of Publicly Owned Utilities," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(4), pages 1204-1219, November.
    5. Casten, Thomas R., 1995. "Electricity generation: Smaller is better," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 8(10), pages 65-73, December.
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    JEL classification:

    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities

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