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Power Pools & ISOs: Monitoring Market Power in a Restructured Industry

Fortnightly Magazine - March 1 1998

create a new matrix, combining antitrust principles with traditional state and federal utility regulation. Defining the exact role and modus operandi for these new "frontline" institutions will only compound the complexity of electric restructuring. California, the site of the most advanced U.S. restructuring effort to date, offers a striking case in point.

1 The terms "monitoring" and "surveillance" are used to describe essentially similar functions and are used interchangeably herein.

2 Fortuitously, Mark Rossi of BDR Inc of Fairfax, Va., who serves as chairman of the Alberta Pool's external Market Surveillance Committee and consultant to the Trustee of California ISO and PX, also played a major and insightful role in developing the basic precepts of the California monitoring programs.

3 However, it is not easy to see how the monitoring units readily could distinguish, at least at first sight, between exercises of market power and other forms of manipulation. Moreover, as former FERC Commissioner Charles Stalon has put it so well, "it is¼ not simple to distinguish between dynamic rivalry of firms¼ and the pursuit and capture of monopoly power."

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