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How much do wholesale energy markets need to change?

A live webinar presented by Utility Markets Today

Rockville, MD (November 16, 2015) – Energy markets are the most well developed aspect of organized wholesale markets. With Southwest Power Pool's (SPP) Integrated Marketplace launch early last year, every independent system operator (ISO) and regional transmission organization (RTO) in the country follows the same basic model – though they can have significant differences. 

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been looking at universal changes to its market rules and just recently released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NORP) to tweak the markets. The NOPR is seeking to ensure that market settlement and dispatch intervals are aligned and that energy markets enter shortage conditions when any single interval warrants that. The commission has said that other changes, including possible revisions to the long-standing $1,000/MWH offer cap, will be coming as well.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is also starting to look at tweaks to its model after major changes were made several years ago in an effort to attract more capacity to the one market where demand continued to grow. The higher $9,000/MWH price and the Operating Reserves Demand Curve (ORDC) have done that and now reserve margins look much better. But with some experience, ERCOT and the Texas Public Utilities Commission are starting to look at possible tweaks to the rules.

Underlying all of these discussions is cheap natural gas, which, while it has gone up and down in recent years, it has never come close to the prices seen before the shale revolution and the great recession. Cheap gas makes nuclear and coal plants less profitable, which has led many of their owners to seek additional payments outside of the market and to favor major changes to wholesale market rules. Many plants have retired and many firms have either hedged their bets with retail and regulated investments, or just gotten out of the markets all together.

Get expert insight on the future of wholesale energy markets by registering for or downloading the recording of Utility Markets Today webinar titled “How much do wholesale energy markets need to change?” scheduled for Thursday, December 3, 2015, from 2-3:30 PM US Eastern Time. Call +1-301-769-6812 (1-888-637-7776 toll-free in the US and Canada) or visit for details.


Beth Garza has served as the director of the ERCOT Independent Market Monitor since September 2014 after serving as the deputy director since 2008. Beth is responsible for monitoring market participant activity, evaluating wholesale market operations and recommending improvements to the wholesale market design. Over the course of her 30-year career in the electric utility industry Garza has held a variety of leadership roles in generation and transmission planning, system operations, regulatory affairs and market design for both regulated and competitive entities. Just prior to joining Potomac Economics she was responsible for developing and implementing ERCOT's inaugural congestion revenue rights market. Garza received her engineering degree from the University of Missouri and is a registered professional engineer in the state of Texas. 

William Hogan is the Raymond Plank professor of global energy policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is the research director of the Harvard Electricity Policy Group in the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government and a longtime member of the Kennedy School Faculty Appointments Committee. He served on the faculty of Stanford University, where he founded the Energy Modeling Forum (EMF) and is past president of the International Association for Energy Economics (IAEE). Hogan's research focuses on the interaction of energy economics and public policy with an emphasis on the restructuring of the electricity industry in the United States and worldwide. He has worked to design the market structures and market rules by which regional transmission organizations coordinate bid-based markets for energy, ancillary services and financial transmission rights. Hogan received his undergraduate degree from the US Air Force Academy and his PhD from UCLA.

Adam Keech is the senior director of market operations at PJM. He started at PJM in 2003 as an engineer in the market operations department where he supported the day-to-day activities required to clear PJM's energy and ancillary service markets. Keech also supported the design and clearing of the reliability pricing model while in this position. He became the manager of the real-time market operations in 2008 where he focused on the oversight and design of the energy and ancillary service markets including the design and implementation of PJM's current shortage pricing rules. Keech accepted a position as the manager of the dispatch department at PJM in 2010 where he was responsible for real-time system operations in the control room and compliance with NERC standards. Keech accepted a position as the director of market operations where he is responsible for the development and execution of all of PJM's markets. Keech has worked at PJM for nearly 12 years in both market operations and system operations. He graduated from Rutgers University in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and earned a master's degree in applied statistics from West Chester University.

Robert McCullough is principal of McCullough Research and has been in business for 24 years advising governments, utilities and aboriginal groups on energy, metals, paper and chemical issues. He has testified repeatedly in state, federal and provincial courts as well as before congress and regulatory bodies. His testimony in front of the Senate Energy Committee is credited with initiating the Enron trading investigations during which he worked for the US Department of Justice and three western attorneys general. Before starting McCullough Research, McCullough was an officer at Portland General Corporation where he had responsibilities in finance, power marketing and rate setting. He was educated at Reed College, Portland State University and Cornell University in economics and finance. He is a member of the American Economic Association, the American Financial Association and the Econometric Association. He has also been an adjunct professor of economics at Portland State University since 1996. 


  • How do wholesale energy markets need to evolve?
  • Why do wholesale energy markets need to change now, after 15 years of restructuring?
  • What impact will FERC's recent NOPR on shortage pricing and aligning dispatch with market settlements have?
  • What else should FERC change about energy markets, such as the long-standing $1,000/MWH price caps?
  • How much can tinkering with energy market design offset $2-3/MMBTU natural gas?
  • What changes are being discussed in ERCOT such as updating the ORDC?
  • Ask your own questions during the live Q&A session.


  • Utility executives, directors and managers;
  • ISO/RTO representatives and members; 
  • Law firms, consultancies and other service providers with utility clients; 
  • Utility technology providers and partners; 
  • Independent power providers and other generators; 
  • Electricity efficiency firms and their clients;
  • Demand response service providers and their customers; 
  • Renewable power providers and their technology partners; 
  • Utility industry investors, 
  • Ratepayer advocates and consumer watchdog groups, and
  • Anyone else with a stake or interest in this important topic.

About Utility Markets Today

Utility Markets Today's mission is to deliver exclusive news chronicling ongoing efforts to build competitive wholesale and retail utility markets with in-depth analysis on why some fail and others succeed. Utility Markets Today is published 245 times a year by Modern Markets Intelligence Inc. (MMI), publisher of independent trade news for the evolving energy industry of the 21st century. It is located in Rockville, Md. Sam Spencer founded MMI in 2009 after writing, editing, marketing, publishing, running and inventing trade news publications and related products for three decades.


James Downing
Editor, Utility Markets Today
Modern Markets Intelligence Inc.

Season Crawford
VP of Marketing
Modern Markets Intelligence Inc.


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