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This paper addresses the self-scheduling of a hydro generating company in a pool-based electricity market. This company comprises several cascaded plants along a river basin. The objective is to maximize the profit of the company from selling energy in the day-ahead market. This paper proposes a 0/1 mixed-integer linear programming model to account, in every plant, for the nonlinear and nonconcave three-dimensional (3-D) relationship between the power produced, the water discharged, and the head of the associated reservoir. Additionally, start-up costs due mainly to the wear and tear are considered. Finally, different realistic case studies are analyzed in detail.