California Independent System Operator

Rethinking WEPEX: What's Wrong with Least Cost?

AFTER MUCH DISCUSSION AND INNOVATION, CALIFORNIA is scheduled to launch its new electricity market (known as WEPEX) on Jan. 1, 1998, and we have a chance to revisit the issues. In the earlier round of this conversation, now three years past, I argued that the debate contrasting pool and bilateral models for a restructured electricity market was missing the point. %n1%n

I had thought the pool versus bilateral debate would be over by now; having both would have solved it.

Cutting Electricity Costs for Industrial Plants in a Real-Time World

AS U.S. ELECTRICITY MARKETS BECOME increasingly competitive, large industrial customers will discover many new choices. These choices include the opportunity to modify the amount and timing of electricity use in response to prices that vary from hour to hour. In addition, customers can sell certain electricity services, including operating reserves and load following, to the system operator. And industrial customers with cogeneration facilities can participate fully in bulk power markets, buying and selling energy and ancillary services in response to changes in spot prices.

Off Peak

Robert Blohm and Professor William Hogan recently traded op-ed letters in the Wall Street Journal on the "poolco" and "bilateral" models for wholesale power markets:

Writing first, Blohm (an advisor to Ontario's Macdonald Committee on electric competition) praised bilateral trading (individual buyers and sellers agree on price).

Recovering Stranded Costs: Not "If," But "How"

Illinois has yet to face the issue, but when it does, it may find the road blocked by jurisdictional rules at the FERC. According to estimates by Moody's Investor Service, the state of Illinois would face stranded costs of nearly $6 billion if it should mandate retail wheeling to allow the state's electric utility customers to choose their own supply of electricity.