(IntelliNews - Weekly Reports Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The European Commission said it has informed state-owned Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) that the territorial restrictions on resale of electricity it imposes on traders on the non-regulated market may be in breach of EU antitrust rules.
The EC's preliminary view is that BEH has abused its dominant market position by forcing traders to resell the electricity they buy from it either only within Bulgaria or only outside of the country. If the Commission concludes that there is sufficient evidence of an infringement, it can impose a fine of up to 10% of BEH's annual turnover.
The antitrust procedure to investigate whether BEH may be hindering competition in the wholesale electricity market was opened in November 2012.
Bulgaria's own antitrust watchdog hit BEH with a BGN 23.4mn (EUR 12mn) fine in July over claims that between August 2010 and December 2012 the state monopoly has forced its clients to extend existing gas supply contracts without allowing them to re-negotiate the contract terms. BEH was also found guilty of compelling its clients to apply in advance for natural gas quantities for the following year through unilaterally imposed directions and tables with formulas that generated inflated final orders.
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