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Can Producers Apply a Capacity Cutting Strategy to Increase Prices? The Case of the England and Wales Electricity Market

  • Sherzod Tashpulatov
  • Lubomir Lizal

Promoting competition among electricity producers is primarily targeted at ensuring low electricity prices for consumers. Producers could, however, withhold part of production facilities (i.e., apply a capacity cutting strategy) and thereby push more expensive production facilities to satisfy demand for electricity. This behavior could eventually lead to a higher price determined through a uniform price auction. In this paper, using the case of the England and Wales wholesale electricity market, we empirically examine whether producers can indeed apply a capacity cutting strategy. We analyze the bidding behavior of producers during high- and low-demand trading periods across trading days and find direct and indirect evidence for producers' successful manipulation of capacity bids targeted at increasing a wholesale electricity price. We also examine whether the regulatory reforms to improve competition were successful at mitigating the extent of strategic capacity manipulation.

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Paper provided by The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague in its series CERGE-EI Working Papers with number wp465.

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Date of creation: Jul 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cer:papers:wp465
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  1. SANIN, Maria Eugenia, 2006. "Market design in wholesale electricity markets," CORE Discussion Papers 2006100, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Von der Fehr, N.H.M. & Harbord, D., 1992. "Spot Market Competition in the UK Electricity Industry," Memorandum 09/1992, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  3. Fridolfsson, Sven-Olof & Tangerås, Thomas P., 2009. "Market power in the Nordic electricity wholesale market: A survey of the empirical evidence," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(9), pages 3681-3692, September.
  4. Crawford, Gregory S. & Crespo, Joseph & Tauchen, Helen, 2007. "Bidding asymmetries in multi-unit auctions: Implications of bid function equilibria in the British spot market for electricity," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 1233-1268, December.
  5. Castro-Rodriguez, Fidel & Marín, Pedro L. & Siotis, Georges, 2009. "Capacity choices in liberalised electricity markets," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(7), pages 2574-2581, July.
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