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Regulation of an Electric Power Transmission Company

Thomas-Olivier Leautier

Year: 2000
Volume: Volume21
Number: Number 4
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol21-No4-3
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Abstract:
Designing regulatory contracts for the operators of power transmission networks has become a critical policy issue in the United States. In this paper, a regulatory contract is proposed that induces network operators to optimally expand the grid, which is crucial for the emergence of efficient wholesale power markets, while also satisfying the other traditional regulatory objectives. The proposed mechanism is readily implementable, since it builds on a contract currently in place in England and Wales.



Is Mandating "Smart Meters" Smart?

Thomas-Olivier Leautier

Year: 2014
Volume: Volume 35
Number: Number 4
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.35.4.6
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Abstract:
The advent of "smart meters" will make possible Real Time Pricing (RTP) of electricity: customers will face and react to wholesale spot prices, thus consumption of electric power will be aligned with its opportunity cost. This article determines the marginal value of a fraction of demand (or a consumer) switching to RTP, conditional on smart meters installation. First, it establishes sufficient conditions for the marginal value of RTP to be decreasing as the fraction of customers on RTP increases. Second, it derives this marginal value for a simple yet realistic specification of demand. Finally, using data from the French power market, it estimates that, for the vast majority of residential customers whose peak demand is lower than 6 kVA, the net surplus from switching to RTP is lower than 1 €/year for low demand elasticity, 4 €/year for high demand elasticity. This finding casts a doubt on the economic value of rolling out smart meters to all residential customers, for both policy makers and power suppliers.



The Visible Hand: Ensuring Optimal Investment in Electric Power Generation

Thomas-Olivier Léautier

Year: 2016
Volume: Volume 37
Number: Number 2
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.37.2.tlea
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Abstract:
This article formally analyzes the various corrective mechanisms that have been proposed and implemented to alleviate underinvestment in electric power generation. It yields three main analytical findings. First, physical capacity certificates markets implemented in the United States restore optimal investment if and only if they are supplemented with a "no short sale" condition, i.e., producers can not sell more certificates than they have installed capacity. Then, they raise producers' profits beyond the imperfect competition level. Second, financial reliability options, proposed in many markets, are effective at curbing market power, although they fail to fully restore investment incentives. If "no short sale" conditions are added, both physical capacity certificates and financial reliability options are equivalent. Finally, a single market for energy and operating reserves subject to a price cap is isomorphic to a simple energy market. Standard peak-load pricing analysis applies: under-investment occurs, unless production is perfectly competitive and the cap is never binding.



Cross-border Effects of Capacity Remuneration Schemes in Interconnected Markets: Who is Free-riding?

Xavier Lambin and Thomas-Olivier Léautier

Year: 2019
Volume: Volume 40
Number: Number 6
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.40.6.xlam
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Abstract:
We study the welfare impacts of domestic support schemes for generation capacity when energy markets are interconnected. We find that if transmission system operators (TSOs) can't reduce export capacity and neighbors stay energy-only, a capacity market is ineffective unless transmission capacity is small. If TSOs can reduce export capacity, the capacity market attracts investments and Security of Supply (SoS) of non-domestic markets shrink. A neighboring energy-only or strategic reserve market will thus be prejudiced in the long-run and may have to implement a capacity market as well in order to meet its SoS standard. Hence, capacity markets may spread in Europe thanks to their negative cross-border effect on investment incentives. This is in sharp contrast with the conventional wisdom, based on short-term arguments, that energy-only markets will free-ride the SoS provided by neighboring capacity markets. Our conclusions urge for the harmonization of capacity remuneration schemes across Europe.



Demand Response: Smart Market Designs for Smart Consumers

Nicolas Astier and Thomas-Olivier Léautier

Year: 2021
Volume: Volume 42
Number: Number 3
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.42.3.nast
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Abstract:
We study Peak-Time-Rebates (PTR) contracts in day-ahead electricity markets. Such contracts reward customers for reducing their consumption when wholesale prices are high. We start by pointing out that these market designs create arbitrage opportunities which, under asymmetric information, incentivize strategic consumers to inflate their baseline. We then show that an incentive compatible PTR design is equivalent to a variable Critical-Peak-Pricing design (vCPP), in which customers have to purchase their peak consumption at the spot price. Under asymmetric information, a relevant question is thus to design vCPP contracts optimally in order to achieve high enrollment rates under voluntary opt-in. This problem has different solutions depending on whether policy-makers choose to maintain existing cross-subsidies or not.





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