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The Difficult Transition to Competitive Electricity Markets in the U.S

  • Joskow, P.L.

This paper discusses the causes and consequences of state and federal initiatives to introduce wholesale and retail competition into the U.S. electricity sector from 1995. The development and performance of wholesale market institutions, the expansion of wholesale power trade, the entry of merchant generating capacity, and the financial collapse of the trading and merchant generating sector is discussed. Issues regarding the ability of evolving spot wholesale energy market institutions and market power mitigation mechanisms in the absence of some form of peak capacity obligation are discussed theoretically and evaluated empirically. The diffusion of retail competition and the performance of retail competition programs in eight states is examined empirically. The analysis leads to the overall conclusion that the development of efficient competitive wholesale and retail electricity markets continues to be a work in progress and faces many technical, institutional and political challenges in the U.S.

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Paper provided by Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge in its series Cambridge Working Papers in Economics with number 0328.

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Length: 106
Date of creation: May 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0328
Note: CMI28, IO
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  1. Paul L. Joskow, 2001. "California's Electricity Crisis," NBER Working Papers 8442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Monica Giulietti & Catherine Waddams Price & Michael Waterson, 2005. "Consumer Choice and Competition Policy: a Study of UK Energy Markets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(506), pages 949-968, October.
  3. Holmstrom, Bengt & Tirole, Jean, 2000. "Liquidity and Risk Management," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(3), pages 295-319, August.
  4. Joskow, Paul & Tirole, Jean, 2004. "Merchant Transmission Investment," IDEI Working Papers 263, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  5. Joskow, Paul L, 1974. "Inflation and Environmental Concern: Structural Change in the Process of Public Utility Price Regulation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 291-327, October.
  6. Oren, Shmuel S. & Spiller, Pablo T. & Varaiya, Pravin & Wu, Felix, 1995. "Nodal prices and transmission rights: A critical appraisal," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 24-35, April.
  7. Green, Richard & Newbery, David M G, 1991. "Competition in the British Electricity Spot Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 557, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Paul L. Joskow, 1997. "Restructuring, Competition and Regulatory Reform in the U.S. Electricity Sector," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 119-138, Summer.
  9. 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.
  10. Catherine D. Wolfram, 1999. "Measuring Duopoly Power in the British Electricity Spot Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 805-826, September.
  11. Green, Richard, 2000. "Can Competition Replace Regulation for Small Utility Customers?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2406, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Severin Borenstein & James B. Bushnell & Frank A. Wolak, 2002. "Measuring Market Inefficiencies in California's Restructured Wholesale Electricity Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1376-1405, December.
  13. Brousseau, Eric & Glachant, Jean-Michel, 2002. "The economics of contracts: Theories and applications," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/12331, Paris Dauphine University.
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