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2005 Documento de Trabajo #208

Market Power in Price-Regulated Power Industries

This paper analyzes market power in price-regulated power industries. We derive market equilibrium under different assumptions (perfect competition, monopoly, Cournot, etc.), with and without free entry. We show that when peak-load pricing is used, producers can exercise market power by increasing the share of peaking technology in the generation portfolio, compared to the welfare-maximizing configuration. In this framework natural measure of market power is the length of time that peaking technology plants operate beyond their operational time in the welfare maximizing solution. We show that when there is free entry with an exogenous fixed entry cost that is later sunk, more intense competition results in higher welfare but fewer firms.

Classification JEL: L94, L51.

M. Soledad Arellano
Pablo Serra

Keywords: Cournot competition, Electricity