California’s retail electric market kicks off in the earlymorning hours today (March 31) with the state-chartered wholesalespot market, the power exchange (PX), processing a market-clearingprice and generation schedules for another newly created statepublic benefits organization, the independent system operator(ISO), that will run the state transmission grid.

Under the state’s 1996 electricity law, the three majorinvestor-owned and state-regulated electric utilities will buy andsell all of their power through the PX, and their customers, whichmake up 80% of the power used in California, will have the optionof buying their own power outside of the PX.

The CEOs of the PX, ISO and three investor-owned utilitiesyesterday certified for both state and federal regulators that thenew market is set to begin, following a three-month delay late in1997.

A competing, privately financed Silicon Valley-based powerexchange, Automated Power Exchange (APX), began its operations aday earlier (March 30), claiming to have “more than 30 electricservice providers, generators, out-of-state utilities, powermarketers and municipalities” signed onto its exchange and 70agreements currently being reviewed by additional participants.

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