This paper proposed a novel model for short term load forecast in the competitive electricity market. The prior electricity demand data are treated as time series. The forecast model is based on wavelet multi-resolution decomposition by autocorrelation shell representation and neural networks (multilayer perceptrons, or MLPs) modeling of wavelet coefficients. To minimize the influence of noisy low level coefficients, we applied the practical Bayesian method Automatic Relevance Determination (ARD) model to choose the size of MLPs, which are then trained to provide forecasts. The individual wavelet domain forecasts are recombined to form the accurate overall forecast. The proposed method is tested using Queensland electricity demand data from the Australian National Electricity Market. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.