ISO New England Bolsters Market Monitoring Efforts

Looking to enhance its ability to ensure competitive and efficient wholesale electric power markets in the New England region, ISO New England Inc. last Wednesday unveiled a series of actions that the ISO said will allow it to more effectively identify and deter market-detrimental behavior such as attempts to manipulate wholesale markets and drive up electricity prices.

Specifically, ISO New England said that it has hired Dr. David B. Patton of the economic consulting firm Potomac Economics to serve as independent market adviser to the ISO's board of directors. Potomac Economics, an economic and strategic consulting firm specializing in the energy industries, will offer advice on how to improve wholesale markets, including making them more competitive and more efficient. Patton currently acts in the same capacity for the New York Independent System Operator.

In addition, ISO New England disclosed that it has retained strategic consulting firm Caminus Corp. to provide extended market analysis capabilities. Caminus will assist the staff of ISO New England in conducting studies of the competitive wholesale market. ISO New England also said that it will increase the size of the ISO's internal market monitoring and market power mitigation section.

"The success of New England's deregulated wholesale electric power markets depends on competition and efficiency," said Kevin Kirby, ISO New England's vice president for market operations. "By strengthening our oversight capabilities, we can ensure that everyone - literally - plays by the rules and that no one manipulates markets to the detriment of consumers."

Kirby went on to note that the ISO's expanded capabilities will become even more important over the next two years as it implements its Standard Market Design (SMD). The SMD, scheduled to be implemented in 2003, is a "new set of rules and procedures that will introduce a day-ahead market and move us closer to a standard, seamless and efficient market for power in the Northeast," Kirby said.

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