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Electricity Pricing and Market Power - Evidence from Germany

  • Matthias Janssen
  • Magnus Wobben
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    The aim of this paper is to develop a methodology for measuring the exercise of potential market power in liberalized electricity markets. We therefore investigate producer behavior in the context of electricity pricing with respect to fundamental time-dependent marginal cost (TMC), i.e. CO2- and fuel cost. In doing so, we do not - in contrast to most current approaches to market power investigation - rely on an estimate of the entire generation cost, which inevitably suffers from the lack of appropriate available data. Applying an analytical model of a day-ahead electricity market, we derive work-on rates, which provide information about the impact of TMC variations on electricity prices in the market constellations of perfect competition, quasi-monopoly and monopoly. Comparing these model-based work-on rates with actual work-on rates, estimated by an adjusted first-differences regression model of German power prices on the cost for hard coal, natural gas and emission allowances, we find evidence of the exercise of market power in the period 2006 to 2008. However, our results reveal that German market competitiveness increases marginally. We confirm our results by simulating a TMC-driven diffusion model of futures power prices estimated by maximum-likelihood.

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    Paper provided by Institute of Spatial and Housing Economics, Munster Universitary in its series Working Papers with number 200121.

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    Handle: RePEc:muc:wpaper:200121
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    1. Richard Schmalensee & Bennett W. Golub, 1984. "Estimating Effective Concentration in Deregulated Wholesale Electricity Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(1), pages 12-26, Spring.
    2. Bert WILLEMS & Ina RUMIANTSEVA & Hannes WEIGT, 2007. "Cournot versus supply functions: what does the data tell us?," Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers ces0720, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën.
    3. Borenstein, Severin & Bushnell, James, 1999. "An Empirical Analysis of the Potential for Market Power in California's Electricity Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 285-323, September.
    4. Jos Sijm & Karsten Neuhoff & Yihsu Chen, 2006. "CO 2 cost pass-through and windfall profits in the power sector," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 49-72, January.
    5. Green, Richard J & Newbery, David M, 1992. "Competition in the British Electricity Spot Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 929-53, October.
    6. Klemperer, Paul D & Meyer, Margaret A, 1989. "Supply Function Equilibria in Oligopoly under Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1243-77, November.
    7. Bonacina, Monica & Gulli`, Francesco, 2007. "Electricity pricing under "carbon emissions trading": A dominant firm with competitive fringe model," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 4200-4220, August.
    8. Holmberg, Pär, 2004. "Unique Supply Function Equilibrium with Capacity Constraints," Working Paper Series 2004:20, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    9. Severin Borenstein & James Bushnell & Christopher R. Knittel, 1999. "Market Power in Electricity Markets: Beyond Concentration Measures," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 65-88.
    10. Lise, Wietze & Linderhof, Vincent & Kuik, Onno & Kemfert, Claudia & Ostling, Robert & Heinzow, Thomas, 2006. "A game theoretic model of the Northwestern European electricity market--market power and the environment," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(15), pages 2123-2136, October.
    11. 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.
    12. Ciarreta, Aitor & Gutierrez-Hita, Carlos, 2006. "Supply function vs. quantity competition in supergames," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 773-783, July.
    13. Benth, Fred Espen & Koekebakker, Steen, 2008. "Stochastic modeling of financial electricity contracts," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 1116-1157, May.
    14. Bolle, Friedel, 1992. "Supply function equilibria and the danger of tacit collusion : The case of spot markets for electricity," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 94-102, April.
    15. 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.
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