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Electricity markets: Designing auctions where suppliers have uncertain costs

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  • Pär Holmberg
  • Frank Wolak

Abstract

We analyse how the market design influences the bidding behaviour in multi-unit auctions, such as wholesale electricity markets. It is shown that competition improves for increased market transparency and we identify circumstances where the auctioneer prefers uniform to discriminatory pricing. We note that political risks could significantly worsen competition in hydro-dominated markets. It would be beneficial for such markets to have clearly defined contingency plans for extreme market situations.

Suggested Citation

  • Pär Holmberg & Frank Wolak, 2015. "Electricity markets: Designing auctions where suppliers have uncertain costs," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1541, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:1541
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Xavier Vives, 2011. "Strategic Supply Function Competition With Private Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(6), pages 1919-1966, November.
    2. Pär Holmberg, 2009. "Supply function equilibria of pay-as-bid auctions," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 154-177, October.
    3. Dan Kovenock & Raymond J. Deneckere, 1996. "Bertrand-Edgeworth duopoly with unit cost asymmetry (*)," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 8(1), pages 1-25.
    4. Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
    5. Holmberg, Par, 2008. "Unique supply function equilibrium with capacity constraints," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 148-172, January.
    6. Parisio, Lucia & Bosco, Bruno, 2003. "Market Power and the Power Market: Multi-unit Bidding and (In)Efficiency in Electricity Auctions," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 10(4), pages 377-401, August.
    7. Holmberg, Pär & Newbery, David, 2010. "The supply function equilibrium and its policy implications for wholesale electricity auctions," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 209-226, December.
    8. Martin J. Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 1994. "A Course in Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650401, March.
    9. Nils-Henrik M. von der Fehr, 2013. "Transparency in Electricity Markets," Economics of Energy & Environmental Policy, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2).
    10. Holmberg, Pär & Newbery, David & Ralph, Daniel, 2013. "Supply function equilibria: Step functions and continuous representations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(4), pages 1509-1551.
    11. Levitan, Richard & Shubik, Martin, 1972. "Price Duopoly and Capacity Constraints," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 13(1), pages 111-122, February.
    12. Genc, Talat S. & Reynolds, Stanley S., 2011. "Supply function equilibria with capacity constraints and pivotal suppliers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 432-442, July.
    13. Vives, Xavier, 1986. "Rationing rules and Bertrand-Edgeworth equilibria in large markets," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 113-116.
    14. Osborne, Martin J. & Pitchik, Carolyn, 1986. "Price competition in a capacity-constrained duopoly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 238-260, April.
    15. Klemperer, Paul D & Meyer, Margaret A, 1989. "Supply Function Equilibria in Oligopoly under Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1243-1277, November.
    16. Pär Holmberg and Ewa Lazarczyk, 2015. "Comparison of congestion management techniques: Nodal, zonal and discriminatory pricing," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2).
    17. Marzena Rostek & Marek Weretka, 2012. "Price Inference in Small Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(2), pages 687-711, March.
    18. Ahmed Anwar, 2006. "Single or Multiple Pricing in Electricity Pools?," ESE Discussion Papers 143, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
    19. Hurlbut, David & Rogas, Keith & Oren, Shmuel, 2004. "Protecting the Market from "Hockey Stick" Pricing: How the Public Utility Commission of Texas is Dealing with Potential Price Gouging," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 26-33, April.
    20. Kastl, Jakub, 2012. "On the properties of equilibria in private value divisible good auctions with constrained bidding," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(6), pages 339-352.
    21. Maskin, Eric, 1986. "The Existence of Equilibrium with Price-Setting Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 382-386, May.
    22. Back, Kerry & Zender, Jaime F, 1993. "Auctions of Divisible Goods: On the Rationale for the Treasury Experiment," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 6(4), pages 733-764.
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    Cited by:

    1. Manzano, Carolina & Vives, Xavier, 2016. "Market Power and Welfare in Asymmetric Divisible Good Auctions," CEPR Discussion Papers 11731, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    cost uncertainty; asymmetric information; uniform-price auction; discriminatory pricing; Bertrand game; market transparency; wholesale electricity market; treasury auction; Bayesian Nash equilibria;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities

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