Taking proceedings

The EC is to open anti-trust investigations into the activities of two European electricity suppliers.

The European Commission has decided to open anti-trust investigations into the activities of two European electricity suppliers.

Both Electrabel, which is the incumbent electricity company in Belgium and part of the French Suez group, and EDF, the incumbent electricity supplier in France, have come under the EC’s scrutiny.

Proceedings against the pair aim to discover if they have breached the EC Treaty’s rules on abuse of a dominant market position.

The Commission believes that Electrabel and EDF may have introduced long term exclusive purchase obligations in their supply contracts with industrial consumers that make it difficult for new electricity suppliers to acquire these consumers as clients.

If that is indeed the case, the Commission says that the actions might delay the development of a more competitive electricity market. Such a delay could lead to higher prices and lower quality of service for the electricity consumers in the countries.

This initiation of proceedings does not imply that the Commission has conclusive proof of an infringement. It only signifies that it will conduct an in-depth investigation as a matter of priority.