Thursday, 03 March 2011 00:00

Decision 516/2011

Decision on the complaint, dating from 8.12.2008, submitted by the company “CH. DIMOVASSILIS & CO. Ltd.” against the companies “Natural Gas Supply Company of Thessaloniki SA” (EPA Thessaloniki) and “Natural Gas Supply Company of Thessalia SA” (EPA Thessalia).

Decision 516/2011
File (PDF) Decision 516/2011
Date of Issuance of Decision March 3rd, 2011
Government Gazette Issue No
Relevant Market

Natural gas market

Subject of the Decision

Abuse of Dominant Position

Legal Framework

Article 2 of  L. 3959/2011

Operative part of the Decision

Finding an infringement. Imposition of a fine.

Complainant(s)

CH.DIMOVASSILIS & CO. Ltd

Respondent(s)
  1. EPA Thessaloniki
  2. EPA Thessalia
Summary of Decision

In its Decision on the complaint submitted by the company “CH.DIMOVASSILIS& CO. Ltd”, with the distinctive title DIMCO, against the “Natural Gas Supply Company of Thessaloniki S.A” and the “Natural Gas Supply Company of Thessalia S.A”, the HCC judged, inter alia, that the market for the provision of a natural gas installation license for customers consuming less than 100 GWh consists of a monopoly established by law.

The present case concerns the relevant market for the licensing of a natural gas installation for customers consuming less than 100 GWh, in which the companies EPA Thessaloniki and EPA Thessalia are active; and its adjacent market of trade and distribution of piping, suitable for natural gas networks of indoor installations of buildings with operating pressure up to 1 bar, in which only the complainant company DIMCO operates. The relevant geographic market for this case includes the “license areas” of EPA Thessaloniki and EPA Thessalia, namely the areas described in detail in Annex 1 of the natural gas distribution licenses of each of them (in Government Gazette Issues1087/31.8.2019 and 1086/31.8.2020, respectively).

Preferential monopolies are usually created because the regulator (e.g. the state) considers the market to be a natural monopoly.EPA Thessaloniki and EPA Thessalia constitute  monopolies in Thessaloniki and in Thessalia, respectively. They are public limited companies, which operate under joint ownership in both geographical areas.

The HCC, considering all evidence, decided in plenary and unanimously the following:

  1. It obliged both involved companies to terminate the infringement –according to the reasoning of the decision -, of article 2 of former law 703/1977, and to omit any such practices in the future.
  2. It imposed on EPA Thessaloniki a fine of 419.781,88 € and on EPA Thessalia a fine of 201.201,28 € for the infringement of article 2 of former law 703/1977, according to article 9 par. 2 of former law 703/1977.
  3. It imposed on EPA Thessaloniki a fine of20.000 € for the delay in providing data, according to article 25 par.2 of former L. 703/1977, as well as a fine of15.000 € for the provision of incomplete data, according to the same article.
  4. It obliged EPA Thessaloniki and EPA Thessalia, within thirty (30) days from the date of notification of the Decision, to inform through press releases the engineers and natural gas installers, that the flexible steel pipes CSST- Gastite can be used in internal gas installations, in accordance with the applicable Technical Regulation, in the same way that copper and steel pipes are used, and to inform HCC of their actions, within the above mentioned deadline.
  5. It obliged EPA Thessaloniki and EPA Thessalia, within thirty (30) days from the date of notification of the Decision to reformulate the indoor gas installation study templates on their websites, in order to include explicit templates with the use of flexible steel pipes CSST- Gastite of the complainant, informing HCC thereof, within the above mentioned deadline.
  6. It threatened EPA Thessaloniki and EPA Thessalia that, in case of continuation or recurrence of the violation, found in the reasoning of the Decision, of article 2 of law 703/1977, as in force, it will impose a fine of 5,000€ for each day of their non-compliance with the HCC Decision, counting from the next day after a period of 30 days from the date of notification of the HCC Decision to the companies concerned.
Judicial Means Appeal.
Decisions by the Court of Appeal of Athens (Administrative Division)

ACAA 4611/2015,  ACAA 4210/2015 ACAA 2742/2012ACAA 389/2015ACAA 885/2013ACAA 2557/2020ACAA 2558/2020

Council of the State 764/2014, Council of the State 2075/2014, Council of the State 2076/2014

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