Market Monitors in Electric Power Markets, II

Michael Giberson

Not much analytical work has be published looking at the role of market monitors in regional power markets. One of the few pieces to be published in the trade press was an article by Prof. Robert Michaels in Public Utilities Fortnightly, “Watching the Watchers: Can RTO market monitors really be independent?

Writing in 2003, Michaels calls market monitoring institutions (MMIs) a “a novel regulatory tool never before contemplated in legislation,” and says “no regulatory institution has ever achieved so much centrality with so little forethought.”

Market monitoring is generally presented as a pro-consumer institution that complements government regulatory oversight. Michaels said in the case of the California Independent System Operator and the now-defunct Calfornia Power Exchange, history suggests an alternative interpretation.

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