The MTU Electricity/Gas monitors and analyses electricity and gas market data for indications of cartel offences in relation to sections 1, 19, 20, and 29 of the Act against Restraints of Competition (GWB) and Articles 101 or 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, with the focus on the prohibition of abuse of a dominant position.
A company is dominant if it is not exposed to any substantial competition or has a paramount market position in relation to its competitors. Any abuse of such a position in the market is prohibited.
Abusive practices are actions that a dominant company can only pursue on account of its market power and that hinder, exploit or discriminate against other companies or their customers in such a way that would not be possible if effective competition existed.
The aim of market monitoring within the MTU Electricity/Gas is initially to create the appropriate conditions allowing dominant positions in the market for generation and initial wholesale supply of electricity to be regularly identified.
Dominance in the market for generation and initial wholesale supply of electricity
The Bundeskartellamt intensively explored methods to identify dominance in the market for generation and initial wholesale supply of electricity in its sector inquiry "Electricity Generation and Wholesale Markets" (data basis 2007/2008, final report january 2011). The sector inquiry showed that it is possible for several generating companies to each have a single dominant position in that market. The market for generation and initial wholesale supply of electricity is still highly concentrated. Yet in its energy monitoring report 2014 („Monitoringbericht 2014“) the Bundeskartellamt found a downward trend in market power; this trend is linked with the decline in market shares of the four strongest electricity producers, the improved management of network interconnections and, first and foremost, an increased feed-in of renewable energy.
A company holds a single dominant position if it is "indispensable" to meet the demand for electricity at a sufficient number of times in the course of a year because the electricity it generates is essential to meet overall demand. The Bundeskartellamt used the residual supply index (RSI) to measure how indispensable a company is.
A dominant electricity generating company would be abusing its position if it did not offer its capacity without any objective reason (abuse in the form of capacity withholding).
Role of the MTU Electricity/Gas
The MTU Electricity/Gas will also deal with abusive practices in the market. If companies are found to have a dominant position in the market for generation and initial wholesale supply of electricity, the MTU Electricity/Gas will analyse the market for indications of abusive conduct.
In continuously collecting and evaluating data on the market for generation and initial wholesale supply of electricity, the MTU Electricity/Gas will assist the Bundeskartellamt in monitoring the market for anti-competitive behaviour and contribute to developing, adapting and constantly examining competition law concepts.
The MTU Electricity/Gas will also analyse the data it collects for indications of cartel offences, and in particular prohibited cartel arrangements.
Any initial suspicions are pursued by the Bundeskartellamt alone. More information can be found on the Bundeskartellamt's website.