NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

California's Electricity Crisis

Paul L. Joskow

NBER Working Paper No. 8442
Issued in August 2001
NBER Program(s):   IO

This paper discusses the political, regulatory and economic factors that led to California's electricity crisis in 2000 and 2001. It begins with a discussion of the origins of California's electricity restructuring and competition programs. It then discusses the structure of the wholesale and retail markets and associated transition institutions created in 1996-98 and the performance of these institutions during their first two years of operation. The discussion of the electricity crisis is then conveniently broken down into three phases: (a) May 2000 through September 2000, (b) October 2000 through December 2000, January 2001 to the June 2001. Each phase is discussed in turn. The paper concludes with a discussion of lessons about electricity market liberalization gained from the recent experience in California.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w8442

Published: Paul L. Joskow, 2001. "California's Electricity Crisis," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(3), pages 365-388.

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