Most of the integrated power markets in the United States release market participant bid and offer data after a six month delay, with identities of the participants masked. Recently ISO-New England proposed reducing the amount of time the data release is delayed. A recent overview of data release policies, conducted by William Dunn for the American Public Power Association, discusses the “most discussed issue” when information release policy is addressed — collusion — and noted something interesting about comments filed with FERC concerning the ISO-NE proposal:
The most frequently discussed concern associated with data release in electricity markets is whether the rapid release of data is more likely to facilitate competition or collusion. The most interesting aspect of this discussion is that market participants seem to be taking positions that are counterintuitive. Those who support continued confidentiality or delayed and masked release of data seem primarily to be the generation resource owners, who could be expected to benefit from data release if it would truly facilitate collusion. Conversely, it is the LSEs who generally advocate faster and resource-specific release of data, and they are the market participants who would be harmed by any collusion such data release facilitated.
In his report, Dunn recommends:
- Unmasked electricity market offer and bid data should be released on the day after the operating day;
- The unmasked physical operating characteristics of generation resources (i.e., minimum run/down times, ramp rates, etc.) should be publicly available;
- Transmission system conditions should be available to those with secure access to the market systems; and
- All market operators should post this information in a consistent and easily accessible manner.
As Dunn’s overview points out, the standard six-month delay is not the only approach possible. Australia’s National Electricity Market releases unmasked offer data on the day after the operating date. Perhaps there are market characteristics that would favor a long delay in some cases and little or no delay in other cases. In the Australian case, Dunn reports that market participants favored rapid disclosure so they could monitor NEM for favoritism shown to government-owned generation at the expense of private operators.
FERC has approved ISO-NE’s request to move to a three-month delay beginning on March 1, 2008, but I suspect that this is not the end of discussions on the topic in the United States.