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Reliability and Competitive Electricity Markets

  • Joskow, Paul L
  • Tirole, Jean

This paper seeks to bridge the gap between economists focused on designing competitive market mechanisms and engineers focused on the physical attributes and engineering requirements they perceive as being needed for operating a reliable electric power system. The paper starts by deriving the (second-best) optimal prices and investment program when there are price-insensitive retail consumers, but when their load serving entities can choose any level of rationing they prefer contingent on real time prices. It then examines the assumptions required for a competitive wholesale and retail market to achieve this optimal price and investment program. The paper analyses the implications of relaxing several of these assumptions. First, it analyzes the interrelationships between regulator-imposed price caps and capacity obligations. It goes on to explore the implications of potential network collapses, the concomitant need for operating reserve requirements and whether market prices will provide incentives for investments consistent with these reserve requirements.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6121.

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Date of creation: Feb 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6121
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  1. Littlechild, S.C., 2000. "Why We Need Electricity Retailers: A Reply to Joskow on Wholesale Spot Price pass-through," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0008, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  2. Joskow, Paul & Tirole, Jean, 2004. "Retail Electricity Competition," IDEI Working Papers 311, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  3. Allaz Blaise & Vila Jean-Luc, 1993. "Cournot Competition, Forward Markets and Efficiency," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 1-16, February.
  4. Green, Richard, 1999. "The Electricity Contract Market in England and Wales," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 107-24, March.
  5. Frank Wolak, 2000. "An Empirical Analysis of the Impact of Hedge Contracts on Bidding Behavior in a Competitive Electricity Market," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(2), pages 1-39.
  6. Severin Borenstein & Stephen Holland, 2005. "On the Efficiency of Competitive Electricity Markets with Time-Invariant Retail Prices," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(3), pages 469-493, Autumn.
  7. Peter Cramton & Steven Stoft, 2005. "A Capacity Market that Makes Sense," Papers of Peter Cramton 05licap, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 2005.
  8. Chao, Hung-po & Wilson, Robert, 1987. "Priority Service: Pricing, Investment, and Market Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 899-916, December.
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