IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Review of the Reserves and Operable Capability Markets: New England's Experience in the First Four Months



I review the performance of the operating reserves and the operable capability markets in New England. The review covers the first four months of operation from May 1 to August 31, 1999. The review is based on my knowledge of the market rules and their implementation by the ISO, and the market data during this period, including bidding, operating, and settlement information. In the review, I (1) identify the potential market flaws with these markets, (2) look at the performance of the markets to see if the potential problems have materialized, (3) evaluate the ISO's short-term remedies for these market flaws, and (4) propose alternative medium-term solutions to the identified problems. I find that the OpCap and reserve markets have serious flaws that must be addressed. The ISO's short-term fixes have been necessary and effective at addressing the immediate problems. However, better solutions can be adopted in the medium term. In particular, I recommend (1) eliminate the OpCap market, (2) establish a downward sloping demand curve for reserves, (3) pay the clearing price to all resources that provide the service, (4) establish the true real-time supply curve as simply the quantity of the resource made available in real time, (5) establish back down bids in the TMSR market (bids would be infrequent, perhaps monthly), (6) never set a price in the TMSR market less than the largest lost opportunity cost, (7) continue to cascade the quantities of the bids between operating reserve products, and (8) correct the classification of off-line units that provide a service that looks and acts like TMSR. All of these changes are consistent with the long-term solutions proposed for NEPOOL. These changes represent an important step toward the long-term solution involving multi-settlement energy and reserve markets. These markets should be designed carefully to address the basic economic and engineering issues necessary for an efficient wholesale electricity market.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Cramton, 2000. "Review of the Reserves and Operable Capability Markets: New England's Experience in the First Four Months," Papers of Peter Cramton 99reserves, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 03 Jan 2000.
  • Handle: RePEc:pcc:pccumd:99reserves
    Note: Working Paper

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Frank A. Wolak & Robert H. Patrick, 2001. "The Impact of Market Rules and Market Structure on the Price Determination Process in the England and Wales Electricity Market," NBER Working Papers 8248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Hirst, Eric & Kirby, Brendan, 1998. "Operating reserves and bulk-power reliability," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 23(11), pages 949-959.
    3. Peter Cramton & Robert Wilson, 1998. "A Review of ISO New England's Proposed Market Rules," Papers of Peter Cramton 98mdi, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton.
    4. Bunn, Derek W. & Larsen, Erik R., 1992. "Sensitivity of reserve margin to factors influencing investment behaviour in the electricity market of England and Wales," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 420-429, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Cramton, Peter & Stoft, Steven, 2005. "A Capacity Market that Makes Sense," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 18(7), pages 43-54.

    More about this item


    Auctions; Electricity Auctions; Multiple Item Auctions;

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pcc:pccumd:99reserves. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Cramton). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.