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Trading Inefficiencies in California's Electricity Markets

Author

Listed:
  • Severin Borenstein
  • James Bushnell
  • Christopher R. Knittel
  • Catherine Wolfram

Abstract

We study price convergence between the two major markets for wholesale electricity in California from their deregulation in April 1998 through November 2000, nearly the end of trading in one market. We would expect profit-maximizing traders to have eliminated persistent price differences between the markets. Institutional impediments and traders' incomplete understanding of the markets, however, could have delayed or prevented price convergence. We find that the two benchmark electricity prices in California -- the Power Exchange's day-ahead price and the Independent System Operator's real-time price -- differed substantially after the markets opened but then appeared to be converging by the beginning of 2000. Starting in May 2000, however, price levels and price differences increased dramatically. We consider several explanations for the significant price differences and conclude that rapidly changing market rules and market fundamentals, including one buyer's attempt to exercise a form of monopsony power, made it difficult for traders to take advantage of opportunities that ex post appear to have been profitable.

Suggested Citation

  • Severin Borenstein & James Bushnell & Christopher R. Knittel & Catherine Wolfram, 2001. "Trading Inefficiencies in California's Electricity Markets," NBER Working Papers 8620, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8620 Note: IO EEE
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8620.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bushnell, J. & Oren, S., 1997. "Transmission pricing in California's proposed electricity market," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 237-244, September.
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    5. Aditya Kaul & Vikas Mehrotra & Randall Morck, 2000. "Demand Curves for Stocks "Do "Slope Down: New Evidence from an Index Weights Adjustment," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(2), pages 893-912, April.
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    7. Newey, Whitney & West, Kenneth, 2014. "A simple, positive semi-definite, heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", pages 125-132.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Dae-Wook Kim & Christopher R. Knittel, 2004. "Biases in Static Oligopoly Models? Evidence from the California Electricity Market," NBER Working Papers 10895, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Kumkar, Lars, 2002. "Das kalifornische Strommarktdebakel: von Liberalisierungsversprechen und Regulierungsversagen," Kiel Working Papers 1097, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    4. Huisman, Ronald & Huurman, Christian & Mahieu, Ronald, 2007. "Hourly electricity prices in day-ahead markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 240-248, March.
    5. Neuhoff, K., 2003. "Integrating Transmission and Energy Markets Mitigates Market Power," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0310, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    6. Clark II, Woodrow W. & Lund, Henrik, 2008. "Integrated technologies for sustainable stationary and mobile energy infrastructures," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 130-140, June.
    7. Boogert, Alexander & Dupont, Dominique, 2005. "On the effectiveness of the anti-gaming policy between the day-ahead and real-time electricity markets in The Netherlands," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 752-770, September.
    8. repec:eee:enepol:v:107:y:2017:i:c:p:109-118 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Anette Boom, "undated". "Investments in Electricity Generation Capacity under Different Market Structures with Price Responsive Demand," Papers 016, Departmental Working Papers.
    10. Hodge, Tyler & Dahl, Carol A., 2012. "Power marketer pricing behavior in the California Power Exchange," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 568-575.
    11. Arciniegas, Ismael & Barrett, Chris & Marathe, Achla, 2003. "Assessing the efficiency of US electricity markets," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 75-86, June.
    12. repec:dau:papers:123456789/206 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G13 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Contingent Pricing; Futures Pricing
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading

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