The European Commission has charged Gaz de France and Germany’s E.ON with secretely rigging gas markets to avoid competing against each other. The Commission has pressed one case after another against Europe’s vertically integrated utilities which it accused of using their energy infrastructure to carve up markets.
The EU’s preliminary view is that the market- sharing agreement between the French and German companies is in violation of its rules banning restrictive business practices and cartels.
The charges reportedly concern agreements signed in 1975 as part of the construction of the Megal pipeline. Those agreements ended in 2004, according to E.ON officials.
They add the Commission deliberately refrained from further charges concerning market and strategy agreements because it noted far-reaching changes in the players’ trade practices.
In a separate case, the Commission has announced the latest step in another cartel case against E.ON involving charges the company deliberately withheld electricity from the market to raise prices.