Competitive electricity markets · Competitive electricity markets Md. Mizanur Rahman School of...
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Competitive electricity markets
Md. Mizanur Rahman School of Mechanical Engineering Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Office: C23-228, UTM, JB Cell: 0176480491 Email: [email protected]
o No freedom of choice
o Poor service quality
o High operation costs
o High losses (10-40%)
o Lack of competition
o Minor role in electricity and emissions trading.
Highly subsidize prices, distortion of markets.
The state budgetary support is the main sources of funding.
State plays a dominant role as policy maker, regulator, owner, operator.
Private generation to a small extent.
Vertically integrated operation in
electricity market organization.
• Electricity utility companies, state or privately owned are natural monopolies
• Are regulated by legislative measures.
• Naturally only one physical connection from supply to an electricity user.
• It prevents competition in the energy market
• In recent years many governments around the world have begun alternative solutions which introduce competition into their respective electricity and gas supply industries.
• The commodity component of electricity is similar to many other commodities but -
• It has some special features-
– Electricity demand fluctuates in the various time horizons (in a day, a year, or in the business cycle) both randomly and non-randomly.
– Electricity cannot be easily stored.
– Generation (and transmission) capacity needed to cope with peak demand
– Capacity is partly unused in periods of lower demand
– Reserve capacity may be required to cope with random demand fluctuations or generation shortfalls
– A diversified portfolio of electricity generating technologies is needed to provide the different loads of electricity at least cost.
Consider an organization uses fuel oil to run its factory.
– The organization will have a choice of competing fuel suppliers from whom to purchase oil.
– The organization can negotiate a bilateral supply contract with any one of the suppliers (or dealers).
– If one supplier becomes expensive, the organization can simply switch to another supplier.
– If demand for fuel oil is high, the suppliers will be able to raise their prices.
– If demand is low then the price of oil will also be low.
– Thus a competitive market in fuel oil exists which reflects the demand for oil at any moment in time.
– Like any other commodity, the oil price will vary because customers have the ability to switch between suppliers.
Now consider the same organization purchasing electricity from a utility
company. Since the electricity is supplied through cables owned by the utility
company, the customer has no choice but purchase electricity from this utility
• As a consequence:
– No competition exists: The customer is in a weak position since electricity prices
and services are fixed by the utility company.
– No market exists: Under a tariff, electricity prices are fixed, prices do not reflect the
fluctuations in demand for electricity. (Although many tariffs do have reduced ‘off-
peak’ elements, these are at best only a crude indicator of market demand.)
– The potential for cross-subsidy exists: The utility company may offer lower electricity prices to its large industrial customers, and recoup some of its lost
income by increasing the prices of its smaller domestic and commercial customers.
This is termed as ‘cross-subsidy. 6
• The electricity businesses are in a position where artificially set
electricity prices are existed.
• Lack of competition ultimately leads to:
– Utility companies becoming over manned and inefficient.
– Industry paying a high price for energy, the unit cost of
production increases and the industry becomes less competitive.
– Many countries are reviewing the monopolistic position of their
respective utility companies.
• In order to promote competition in the electricity supply industry it is necessary to
create a market for the commodity which is flexible and yet still robust enough to
cope with wide fluctuations in demand
• The market should:
– Allow various electricity supply companies and generators to compete with each other to sell
electricity direct to customers.
– Allow customers to negotiate electricity supply contracts with various suppliers.
– Be transparent, so that generators, suppliers and customers can see that the market is fair and
– Create a ‘spot market’ which accurately reflects both demand for energy and cost of production.
This spot market then becomes the market indicator of the real cost of production at any given
point in time.
– Facilitate a future’s market in electricity trading.
• The above points are relatively easy to achieve in a normal
commodity, but not for the case of electricity
– Electricity cannot be stored and must be generated only when it can be
– Physical constraints of an electricity supply system.
As a result a truly competitive market in electricity is likely to be much more
complex than a normal commodities market.
• It is impossible to achieve a competitive market with a vertically integrated electricity supply industry.
• Instead a horizontally integrated structure is required. • Horizontally integrated electricity supply industry, in which the generation,
transmission and distribution roles are all split up from each other.
• By splitting up the roles it is possible to create competition between generators who then have to bid in a ‘spot market’ for the right to supply electricity to the transmission grid.
• Transmission system acts in a fair
and independent manner
• Possible for new ‘independent power
producers’ to enter the market to
compete with existing generators.
• This should result in a reduced cost
to the customer for each unit of
electrical energy produced.
• Customer must be allowed to negotiate supply contracts with individual
energy generator or supplier.
• Customer purchases electricity from competing supply companies, who pay a
fee to the relevant distribution companies for the use of their ‘wires’.
• This ‘line rental’ fee is then passed on to the customer and included in the unit
price paid for the electricity.
• In order to ensure that true competition takes place, the ‘line rental’ fees
should be transparent and equal for all potential electricity suppliers.
• These fees are usually fixed by some form of statutory regulatory mechanism
Example of competitive electricity market
Producers (private or government,
national or international, large
Whole sale market End-users (large or
small industries, services,
agriculture, transports, households
Competitive selling and buying
Transmission/distribution service is regulated as these are natural monopoly
Distribution is separate activity from electricity trade
• Producers: companies generate electric power.
• Supplier: A supplier buys power either directly from a producer, or through
markets. In general, a supplier resells it to small and medium-sized companies and
• Trader: represents the entity which owns the power while the trading process is
taking place. For example, the trader may buy power from a producer and sell it to
a retailer, or the trader may choose to buy power from one retailer and sell it to
another retailer. There are many routes from the producer to the end-user.
• Brokers: play the same role in the power market as estate agents do in the property
market. A broker does not own power, but instead acts as an intermediary. A retailer
may, for example, ask the broker to find a producer who will sell a given amount of
power at a given time.
• Distributor: Distributor is granted a permit giving him the exclusive right
and obligation to build a distribution network in a certain geographical
area. The authorities define levels of maximum profit which ensures that
stable and reasonable prices are maintained. A distributor might also have
the role of a supplier, but is obliged to distribute electrical energy from any
other supplier under the same terms.
• End-user : Either a company or a private household. Every end-user pays
for the power consumed to the supplier, he pays for the power transmission
to the distributor and he pays taxes. An end-user can choose among a big
range of suppliers while he has only one choice with regard to the
transmission operator or distributor. Every geographical area has one
distributor responsible for the network transmission.
System operator (SO) is responsible for an area to be electrically stable, and
for the security of supply in his area. A system operator has to be a non-
commercial organization, neutral and independent with regard to the market
members (usually government body).
The system operators have the responsibility for both the security of supply
and the high-voltage grid (the transmission grid).
Regardless of the market framework (monopoly or competitive),
system operation always remains a monopoly.
The Nordic transmission system operators (TSO) are Statnett SF (Norway) Svenska Kraftnät (Sweden) Fingrid (Finland) Energinet.dk (Denmark). Elering (Estonia) Litgrid (Lithuanian) AST (Latvia) [email protected] 15
• The distribution company is primarily interested in procuring enough
electrical energy from generators in order to meet demand on its grid.
It is not particularly interested in any individual supply contracts.
• Conversely, customers, suppliers and generators are primarily
interested in negotiating contracts which ensure their desired price
and are not interested in the distribution company’s need to meet
• Satisfying these conflicting needs requires the setting-up of complex
bidding, pricing and settlement mechanisms. It is the specific nature
of these mechanisms and the efficiency with which they are applied
which will ultimately determine the success or failure of any
Number of countries in the world, including the USA, EU (UK, Sweden, Norway, Denmark etc.) have deregulated (at least in part) their electricity supply industries and are developing new energy-trading markets.
Five electricity spot markets ‘pools’ have so far been created in Europe-
i. UK electricity spot market (i.e. the electricity pool)
ii. Nord-pool in Scandinavia (covering Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany and the UK)
iii. Amsterdam Power Exchange (covering The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany)
iv. Spanish Pool
v. Swiss Pool and 17