Who benefits from ratepayer-funded auctions of transmission congestion contracts? Evidence from New York

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Abstract

Transmission congestion contracts (TCCs) are derivative products that electricity retailers and generators can use to change their future wholesale electricity price exposure to a different location. Network auctions of TCCs can help facilitate efficient contracting between participants located at different locations by signaling feasible least-cost configurations of electricity injections and withdrawals in the transmission constrained network. Federal and State regulators are concerned that market participants are profiting from these auctions at the expense of ratepayers. I study firm-level TCC positions in the New York Wholesale Electricity Market to investigate potential distributional and economic efficiency consequences from the auctions. I find no evidence that generator owners profit from TCC positions by leveraging their downstream market power in the wholesale electricity market. Instead, profitable actions by a small set of experienced financial traders tend to provide improved information and liquidity to the market. Policy implications and alternate regulatory frameworks are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105025
Number of pages21
JournalEnergy Economics
Volume93
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

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