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Analyzing the Impact of Electricity Market Structure Changes and Mergers: The Importance of Forward Commitments

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  • Brown, David P.

    () (University of Alberta, Department of Economics)

  • Eckert, Andrew

    () (University of Alberta, Department of Economics)

Abstract

We investigate how the effects of market structure changes and mergers in restructured electricity markets depend on the level of forward contracting. Following Bushnell, Mansur, and Saravia (2008), we develop a Cournot model of Alberta's wholesale electricity market that incorporates firms' forward positions. Using data from 2013 - 2014, we estimate the monthly forward positions of the five largest firms in the market, and simulate the effects of different market structure changes, including variations of a hypothetical merger with asset divestitures. We examine the sensitivity of the simulated effects of mergers and other market structure changes to assumptions regarding firms' forward commitments. We demonstrate that the wholesale market impacts of mergers and market structure changes depend critically on firms' forward commitments in the post market structure change equilibrium. Our paper demonstrates the importance of establishing a clear understanding of the size and nature of forward commitments in forecasting the effects of mergers and other market structure changes in wholesale electricity markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Brown, David P. & Eckert, Andrew, 2016. "Analyzing the Impact of Electricity Market Structure Changes and Mergers: The Importance of Forward Commitments," Working Papers 2016-8, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:albaec:2016_008
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    Cited by:

    1. Brown, David P. & Eckert, Andrew, 2019. "Pricing Patterns in Wholesale Electricity Markets: Unilateral Market Power or Coordinated Behavior?," Working Papers 2019-9, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
    2. David P. Brown & Andrew Eckert, 2017. "Electricity market mergers with endogenous forward contracting," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 51(3), pages 269-310, June.
    3. Brown, David P. & Eckert, Andrew & Eckert, Heather, 2018. "Carbon pricing with an output subsidy under imperfect competition: The case of Alberta's restructured electricity market," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 102-123.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Electricity; Mergers; Forward Contracts; Market Power;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L40 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - General
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
    • Q40 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - General

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