The Value of Automation in Power Trading

How much is your time worth? Is it the value of your wages? When you’re using your time to execute power transactions, should lost opportunity and the cost of errors be considered?

These are questions to ask yourself when performing your daily business tasks. When it comes to making a deal, instead of manually scheduling each step, imagine entering the pertinent information — who the trading counterparty is, price, volume, dates, hours, and updates — and then simply hitting a button to schedule a deal. 

The good news is that technology is available to automate this process. Let software execute the transactional processes required to move power from one Regional Transmission Operator (RTO) market to another and eliminate the 10-20 steps to create a schedule so you can focus on strategic decision-making. 

To determine how much money is spent on these manual and repetitive steps, take your salary (including benefits) and derive an hourly rate. Then determine the amount of time to:

•    Enter a deal in the deal capture system
•    Check for available transmission
•    Buy transmission, if needed
•    Create a tag
•    Follow-up on the tag getting implemented

Then consider the time it takes to research if the checkout with your counterparty is off due to a change in the tag volume. 

How much is at risk if an error is made? It could be just the additional time to fix the error before it’s too late, but maybe it’s not reversible. Maybe you schedule 10 MWs to flow when it should’ve been 100 MWs. How much time will it take to determine the cost of the 90 MWs that didn’t flow? Was the schedule Firm Liquidated Damages (Firm-LD)? If so, then the cost of not delivering the power is greatly increased and your company’s reputation is possibly damaged.

We’re all familiar with the phrase: do more with less. Automated systems make this possible by increasing the number of transactions that can be successfully executed or mitigating losses without additional staff.

OATI offers comprehensive Commodity Trading & Risk Management (CTRM) solutions that provide automation, reducing or eliminating the need for human intervention to execute and manage power transactions. Power trading tagging schedules are programmatically integrated with the OATI webTrader Power deal capture system. An example of an OATI tool that offers even greater automation of trading transactions is the tool OATI webAgent®, which automates and tracks power trades between and within RTOs. All you have to do is indicate how many MWs and for which hours you want power to flow between which RTO markets, and the tool does the rest. 

webAgent will handle the 10+ manual steps required to move power between RTO markets. You will not have to:
•    Log in to individual market portals
•    Manually purchase the transmission required to move power
•    Create the tag, which is required to physically move the power from one RTO to another
•    Ensure use of correct time zone hours

In addition, the webAgent tool performs validation and immediately communicates any errors that might prevent the schedule from being properly executed.

So instead of letting people do the scheduling, why not let tools do the work? This frees up your valuable time and lets you focus on other areas of energy business. Check out OATI’s CTRM solutions here or contact for more information.