Retail consumers and risk in centralized energy auctions for indexed long-term contracts in Chile

Lorenzo Reus, Francisco D. Munoz, Rodrigo Moreno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Centralized energy auctions for long-term contracts are commonly-used mechanisms to ensure supply adequacy, to promote competition, and to protect retail customers from price spikes in Latin America. In Chile, the law mandates that all distribution companies must hold long-term contracts—which are awarded on a competitive centralized auction—to cover 100% of the projected demand from three to fifteen years into the future. These contracts can be indexed to a series of financial parameters, including fossil fuel prices at reference locations. Drawing from portfolio theory, we use a simple example to illustrate the difficulties of selecting, through the current clearing mechanism that focuses on average costs and individual characteristics of the offers, a portfolio of long-term energy contracts that could simultaneously minimize the expected future cost of energy and limit the risk exposure of retail customers. In particular, we show that if the objective of the regulator is to limit the risk to regulated consumers, it could be optimal to include contracts that would not be selected based on individual characteristics of the offers and a least-cost auction objective, but that could significantly reduce the price variance of the overall portfolio due to diversification effects between indexing parameters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)566-577
Number of pages12
JournalEnergy Policy
StatePublished - Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Energy auctions
  • Portfolio optimization
  • Price risk


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