Experimental Tests of Competitive Markets for Electric Power

Ede, Simon | Mount, Timothy | Schulze, William | Thomas, Robert J. | Zimmerman, Ray D. | Multidimensional Markets
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S. Ede, T. Mount, W. Schulze, R. Thomas, R. Zimmerman
Proceedings of the 34th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, pp. 806-812, Jan 3-6, 2001, Maui, Hawaii.

Testing the performance of electricity markets using POWERWEB has already shown that relatively inexperienced players can identify and exploit market power in load pockets. When transmission constraints are not binding, however, auctions with six players have been shown to be efficient. There is evidence from operating electricity markets that prices can be driven above competitive levels when the largest supplier controls less than 20% of total installed capacity. This is accomplished by causing price spikes to occur. In experiments, uncertainty about the actual load and paying standby costs regardless of whether or not a unit is actually dispatched contribute to volatile price behavior. The objective of this paper is to investigate characteristics of a market that affect price volatility. The tests consider three different sets of rules for setting price when there are capacity shortfalls, and the following four market structures: 1. Load is responsive to price 2. Price forecasts are made before market settlement 3. A day-ahead market and a balancing market auction 4. Suppliers are paid actual offers (a discriminatory auction)