Monday, 20 December 2021

Press Release - Launch of an ex-officio investigation in the market of retail electricity supply to small consumers (low voltage)

Subject: Launch of an ex-officio investigation in the market of retail supply of electricity to small consumers (low voltage).

The Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC), in follow-up to its actions in key sectors of the economy, and in the context of the effective ex-post application of competition rules in the electricity supply sector, launched on 16.12.2021 an ex-officio investigation in the market for the retail supply of electricity to small consumers (low voltage). Following a preliminary investigation and monitoring of the specific market, the HCC proceeded to investigative measures in eighteen (18) companies operating in the market in order to identify any anti-competitive practices, under law 3959/2011 and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

It is noted that the conduct of investigative measures does not prejudge that companies or associations of undertakings have engaged in an anti-competitive behavior nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

Legal Framework

The HCC, as the guardian of the proper functioning of free market, is responsible for the ex-post application of competition rules, pursuant to law 3959/2011 and the articles 101/102 TFEU.

Articles 1 of law 3959/2011 and 101 TFEU prohibit collusions between undertakings (agreements, concerted practices or decisions of associations of undertakings) that have as their objective or result the restriction of competition.

Articles 2 of law 3959/2011 and 102 TFEU prohibit the abuse of dominance by companies with a dominant position in the market. 

The HCC points out that within the framework of its responsibilities, it will intervene as an immediate priority, where necessary, and will examine any relevant case that comes to its notice, upon submission of a complaint, application for leniency or anonymous information through the secure digital environment (whistleblowing) and will impose severe administrative sanctions on companies that apply anti-competitive practices, pursuant to the provisions of law 3959/2011 and the articles 101/102 TFEU.

Other actions

The HCC, in cooperation with the Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE), which is in charge of the ex-ante control of competition in the energy sector, is closely monitoring the price increases occurring worldwide partly because of the current pandemic, as these increases may have an impact within the Greek territory. It has also set up a working group consisting of HCC’s officials, in collaboration with experts from foreign and domestic universities, such as the University of Cambridge, the University of East Anglia and the Athens University of Economics and Business to closely monitor the market.

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