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We examine price by season and by year in 14 deregulated markets, by looking at diurnal price patterns and price volatility. Power price volatility is measured by price velocity, the daily average of the absolute value of price change per hour, which is broken into a component expected from the average diurnal pattern, and an unexpected component. Deregulated markets can be categorized into three groups: stable markets, markets that experienced one bad period or season of high price excursion, and chaotic markets. Britain, Spain and Scandinavia show consistent price patterns and low unexpected price velocity; a thoughtful consumer could reasonably implement demand side management (DSM) by shaping consumption patterns to reflect price. California, New Zealand and Alberta are examples of markets that had a period of very high price excursion; we discuss factors affecting public reaction to this. Australian power markets have inconsistent price patterns from season to season and year to year, and very high unexpected price velocity. Planned DSM in these markets would be very difficult. We offer four policy considerations for markets considering deregulation in the future.
Date of Publication: May 2005