European energy companies may face massive fines from the European Commission following the results of an inquiry into anti-competitive pricing levels.
UK newspaper The Business, which has seen the findings, reported that the commission believes some European markets are controlled by too few companies, and near monopolies allow companies to influence prices.
Companies such as E.ON, RWE and Electricite de France could be faced with combined fines of $11.7 billion. Although the commission’s report does not name any company or country, companies such as EDF in France have near total market control. The report also says that in many gas markets, the company’s control of imports prevents competition.
The preliminary findings were welcomed by UK supplier Centrica, according to the newspaper. Centrica has campaigned against barriers to competition in Europe. Managing director Jake Ulrich said: We need and end to the era of large monopoly energy suppliers and we think the competition inquiry should act as a valuable catalyst for this to happen. Member states have been dragging their feet and this must end.
The report will be publicly presented in February, followed by two months of consultation. The inquiry will conclude in the second half of next year.