PS12458-PS12459-PS12460-PS12461-PS12462-PS12468-PS12470 - Italian Competition Authority: seven investigations were initiated and seven interim decisions were adopted against Enel, Eni, Hera, A2A, Edison, Acea and Engie for alleged unlawful unilateral changes in the price of electricity and natural gas supply
More than seven million consumers, condominiums and micro-enterprises are involved in notifications of changes in the economic conditions. In October, the Authority initiated four investigations and subsequently adopted interim decisions against Dolomiti, E.On, Iberdrola and Iren
The Italian Competition Authority initiated seven investigation proceedings - and decided to adopt as many interim decisions - against the main companies supplying electricity and natural gas on the liberalised market, which account for about 80% of the market. The Authority is investigating proposals for changing the price of electricity and natural gas supply and the subsequent proposals for renewing the contractual conditions, in breach of Article 3 of Decree Law no. 115 of 9 August 2022 (the “Aid-bis Decree”), converted into Law no. 142 of 21 September 2022.
The Decree suspends from 10 August until 30 April 2023 the effectiveness of both contractual clauses that allow distribution companies to change the price of supply and related pre-notifications, unless the price changes had already been made before the Decree entered into force.
These measures are in addition to the four investigation proceedings and the as many interim decisions adopted against the companies Iren, Dolomiti, E.On and Iberdrola and follow on from extensive pre-investigation activities carried out into 25 companies, from which it emerged that about half of the operators concerned complied with the law, by avoiding changing the economic conditions - after 10 August 2022 - or cancelling the increases that had been applied unlawfully.
The Authority held that the seven companies did not suspend the notifications of the proposal for a unilateral change in the economic conditions, sent before 10 August 2022 and, subsequently, the proposals for updating or renewing, i.e. increasing, the supply prices on the basis of the alleged expiry of the fixed-price offers.
The alleged effectiveness of Acea’s notifications of a unilateral change in the supply price has been challenged, given that they were sent before the entry into force of the Aid-bis Decree (10 August 2022) and were not “completed” before that date.
On the basis of the data provided by the companies, it appears that the consumers, condominiums and micro-enterprises involved in the notifications of changes in the economic conditions are 7,546,963, of which approximately 2,667,127 have reportedly already suffered an unjustified price increase.
The companies must therefore suspend the application of the new economic conditions, maintaining or restoring the prices charged before 10 August 2022 and, in addition, must inform the Authority of the measures they will take in this regard. The companies have seven days to defend themselves and the Authority may confirm or revoke the interim decisions.
Rome, 13 December 2022