Sweden’s Competition Authority has launched an investigation into the electricity sector over suggestions of market manipulation.

About a hundred companies and other stakeholders in the industry, including Vattenfall, Finland’s Fortum and Germany’s EON, will be asked to answer questions about their activities as part of a scheme to identify and investigate possible irregularities in the electricity market.

The preliminary study focuses on two main areas, including whether the companies that own Sweden’s nuclear power facilities have, in breach of the competition rules, limited the supply of electricity in order to influence prices on the Nord Pool electricity exchange. The investigation will also attempt to determine whether companies that both produce and trade in electricity have exploited their position to limit competition in the electricity market.

“The reason we are putting these questions to a large number of actors is that we want to identify malpractices and investigate suspected cases of unlawful behaviour in the market,” said the Authority’s director-general Claes Norgren.

One of the more specific questions put to the recipients is how vertical integration in the industry affects prices and supply. Another is how co-ownership of power production has affected the individual company’s ability to act. In addition, all concerned will be given the opportunity to openly state their views on the electricity market and on the problems they experience there.