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The Fall in British Electricity Prices: Market Rules, Market Structure, or Both?


  • Natalia Fabra

    (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

  • Juan Toro



In this paper we investigate the factors contributing to the fall in the Lerner Index (price-cost margin) in the British electricity market during the 90s. A first stage of our analysis models the number of breaks in the Lerner Index and their dating as unknowns. Our results suggest the existence of one structural break in the time series of the Lerner Index. The break point interval includes the go-live of the New Electricity Trading Arrangements (NETA), but also several other (but not all) regulatory interventions. In a second stage, we construct a general regression model for the Lerner index as a function of the regulatory interventions within the estimated break point interval, the Herfindahl- Hirschman Index (HHI), and the demand-capacity ratio. The results show that both the HHI and the demand-capacity ratio are strongly significant for explaining the fall in the Lerner Index. NETA is also significant, even when the Lerner Index is corrected for the influence of the HHI and the demand-capacity ratio.

Suggested Citation

  • Natalia Fabra & Juan Toro, 2003. "The Fall in British Electricity Prices: Market Rules, Market Structure, or Both?," Industrial Organization 0309001, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpio:0309001
    Note: Type of Document - Tex; prepared on IBM PC; to print on HP;

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Natalia Fabra & Nils‐Henrik Fehr & David Harbord, 2006. "Designing electricity auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(1), pages 23-46, March.
    2. Jushan Bai & Pierre Perron, 1998. "Estimating and Testing Linear Models with Multiple Structural Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(1), pages 47-78, January.
    3. Jushan Bai & Pierre Perron, 2003. "Critical values for multiple structural change tests," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 6(1), pages 72-78, June.
    4. Andrews, Donald W K, 1993. "Tests for Parameter Instability and Structural Change with Unknown Change Point," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(4), pages 821-856, July.
    5. Natalia Fabra, 2003. "Tacit Collusion in Repeated Auctions: Uniform Versus Discriminatory," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 271-293, September.
    6. Chib, Siddhartha, 1998. "Estimation and comparison of multiple change-point models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 221-241, June.
    7. Jushan Bai & Pierre Perron, 2003. "Computation and analysis of multiple structural change models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 1-22.
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    Cited by:

    1. Heim, Sven & Götz, Georg, 2013. "Do pay-as-bid auctions favor collusion? Evidence from Germany's market for reserve power," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-035, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    2. John J. García & Santiago Arango Tamayo & Andrés F. Ortiz Rico, 2015. "Impacto de la regulación en la eficiencia asignativa del mercado spot eléctrico colombiano," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO CIEF 013313, UNIVERSIDAD EAFIT.
    3. Giulietti, Monica & Grossi, Luigi & Waterson, Michael, 2010. "Price transmission in the UK electricity market: Was NETA beneficial?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 1165-1174, September.
    4. Karakatsani, Nektaria V. & Bunn, Derek W., 2008. "Forecasting electricity prices: The impact of fundamentals and time-varying coefficients," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 764-785.
    5. Paul Twomey & Richard Green & Karsten Neuhoff & David Newbery, 2005. "A Review of the Monitoring of Market Power: The Possible Roles of TSOs in Monitoring for Market Power Issues in Congested Transmission Systems," Working Papers 0502, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
    6. Kalantzis, Fotis & Sakellaris, Kostis, 2012. "Investigating the Impact of the Greek Electricity Market Reforms on its Day-Ahead Market Prices," MPRA Paper 37794, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Andrew Sweeting, 2007. "Market Power In The England And Wales Wholesale Electricity Market 1995-2000," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(520), pages 654-685, April.
    8. Malaguzzi Valeri, Laura, 2006. "Comparison of Electricity Deregulation around the World and Implications for Ireland," Quarterly Economic Commentary: Special Articles, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), vol. 2006(3-Autumn), pages 38-63.
    9. Karakatsani, Nektaria V. & Bunn, Derek W., 2008. "Intra-day and regime-switching dynamics in electricity price formation," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 1776-1797, July.

    More about this item


    Electricity Markets; Regulatory Reform; Structural Breaks;

    JEL classification:

    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities

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