Monday, 23 September 2019

Press Release - Settlement Procedure - Decision in the Electrical Installation Services Sector

Subject: Settlement Procedure - Decision of the Hellenic Competition Commission on the ex-officio investigation for possible infringement of articles 1 of Law 3959/2011 (former article 1 of Law 703/1977), as in force, and 101 TFEU in the Sector of Electrical Installation Services / Works

The Plenary Session of the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC), with its unanimous decision 670/2018, during the simplified settlement procedure of article 25a of law 3959/2011 and according to HCC’s 628/2016 decision, found that the secondary Federation of Electricians as well as eleven (11) in total local Primary Associations1, together with their respective Civil Companies and Relief Funds that joined the settlement procedure, violated Article 1 of Law 3959/2011, former Article 1 of Law 703/1977 on prohibited cartels and 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), by participating in horizontal agreements (cartels) to set minimum or uniform fees in the Sector of Electrical Installation Services / Works.

The decision was issued according to the simplified settlement procedure, after the involved parties expressed their interest in settlement and submitted a declaration of acceptance of the infringements found. Based on the reasoning of the decision, the above associations of companies took part in prohibited horizontal agreements (cartels), in particular as regards price harmonization and in particular the determination on a case-by-case basis of a minimum or uniform fee for the issue of certificates and the drafting of electrical installation studies for the compulsory issue of a certificate of electrician installer, for the relevant measurements, inspections and re-inspections for the certificates’ issue, for the placement of support materials, for the issue of certificates of good operation of store facilities (to local authorities and fire brigade), for the plan development for telephone installations and for the rest of electrical works /materials through the compilation of price lists under the coordination of their Federation through the Regional Units/Associations.

This horizontal anticompetitive agreement was realised through statutory provisions or provisions of the Code of Conduct of Associations, actions and decisions of the parties involved, through the adoption of mechanisms for the collection and maintenance of minimum or uniform fees, the allocation/distribution of fees among the Association and its members, the issue and application of price catalogues, the monitoring of compliance of the Associations’ members  with the decisions of the Association of companies, etc.

For the above infringements, the involved associations were fined a total of one hundred and forty-five thousand and ten euros and ninety-six cents (€ 145, 010.96), reduced by 15%, as provided for in the Settlement Procedure Decision of the HCC, given their participation and liability in the infringements found.

In addition the inspected Associations of companies were ordered: to cease and omit the infringements found and to undertake a series of measures such as deletion of those provisions in their Statutory Provisions and their Code of Conduct, etc. that are contrary to the provisions of competition law, to revoke/withdraw anti-competitive decisions / announcements / price lists concerning the determination of prices, to inform members of the electricians' associations for the deletion of the above provisions, and not to engage in similar pricing determination practices in the future through the meetings of the association of companies or between members of the association, publication in local newspapers, etc.

 1 In particular: The Panhellenic Federation of Electricians Contractors Associations (POSEI) and the following local Primary Associations of Electricians: 1) Regional Association of Electrician Installers "O BATT" of Achaia, 2) Association of Electrician Installers of Thessaloniki, 3) Regional Association of Electricians Installers Works of Ioannina-Epirus, 4) Association of Electrical Contractors of Dodecanese Prefecture, 5) Association of Electrical Installers of Heraklion Prefecture, 6) Association of Electrical Installers of Lassithi Prefecture, 7) Association of Electrical Engineers of Chania, 9) Association of Contractors Installers of Electricians of Piraeus, 10) Panhellenic Association of Contractors of Electricians Graduates of Higher & Secondary Technical Education (PESIPAMTE), and 11) Association of Contractors of Electrical Works of Paros, as well as the practices of Civil Companies or Relief Funds related to some of the above: Electrical Contractors of Ioannina-Epirus, of the Civil Society of Licensed Electrical Installers of Heraklion, of the Civil Society of Licensed Electrical Installers of Rethymno, of the Civil Society of the PESIPAMTE. For an additional party involved in the Commission's ex-officio investigation, which did not submit a request for inclusion in the settlement procedure, the hearing procedure before the HCC has been completed. 

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