Thursday, 05 May 2022

Press Release – Unannounced inspections in companies active in the electricity sector

Subject: Unannounced inspections of the Hellenic Competition Commission in companies active in the electricity sector

On 5/5/2022, officials of the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of undertakings active in the wholesale supply of electricity, as well as in the retail supply of electricity to low voltage customers (households and SMEs).  The HCC suspects that the inspected companies may have engaged in anti-competitive practices in violation of Articles 1 and 2 of Law no. 3959/2011 and/or Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty for the Functioning of the European Union.

Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step in an investigation into suspected anticompetitive practices.  The fact that the HCC has carried out inspections does not mean that the inspected undertakings have engaged in anti-competitive behavior, nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself.

Legal Framework

The HCC is responsible for enforcing Greek and EU antitrust rules in the Greek territory (Articles 1 and 2 of Greek Law 3959/2011 and Articles 101 and 102 TFEU). 

Article 1 of Law no. 3959/2011 and Article 101 of the TFEU prohibit anticompetitive agreements and decisions of associations of undertakings that prevent, restrict or distort competition. 

Article 2 of Law no. 3959/2011 and Article 102 of the TFEU prohibit the abuse of a dominant position. 

In the face of an unprecedented economic crisis, the HCC investigates and prosecutes any suspected infringement of Greek and EU antitrust laws which is brought to its attention through complaints, applications for leniency, or other sources of information, including its recently launched whistleblowing tool.  The HCC will impose severe administrative sanctions on undertakings which are found to have adopted such anti-competitive practices.

Other actions

The HCC is in charge of the ex post enforcement of competition law in the electricity sector.  The HCC, in cooperation with the national regulatory authority (Regulatory Authority for Energy or RAE) is closely monitoring the price increases occurring worldwide, as these increases may have an impact on Greek consumers.  It has also set up a working group consisting of HCC staff and experts from foreign and domestic institutions, 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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