The European Commission has confirmed that it paid further unannounced visits to the offices of a number of German energy companies on May 29/30, 2006, as it seeks to garner more evidence of possible anticompetitive practices in the energy market.

The commission says that the raids were a ‘follow-up’ to the inspections made earlier in May. Officials from Brussels were accompanied on each occasion by staff from national antitrust bodies, and the EC was at pains to stress that the visits were not formally part of the official EU energy sector competition inquiry that is currently ongoing.

The precise firms targeted in the latest inspections have not yet been named by the commission, although reports say that a spokesman for RWE confirmed that it had not been the subject of a visit.

The commission has reason to believe that the companies concerned may have violated EC Treaty antitrust rules that prohibit restrictive business practices and/or abuse of a dominant market position, read an EC statement released on May 30.