Brussels, 10 July 2012
Antitrust: Commission market tests commitments proposed by CEZ concerning Czech electricity market
The European Commission is inviting comments from interested parties on commitments offered by the Czech electricity incumbent CEZ to address concerns that it may have infringed EU antitrust rules by hindering the entry of competitors onto the Czech electricity markets, in particular through excessive capacity reservations. To alleviate these concerns, CEZ offered to divest coal-fired generation capacity in the Czech Republic. If the market test confirms that the proposed commitments remedy the competition concerns, the Commission may make them legally binding on CEZ.
The Commission is investigating whether CEZ has abused its dominant position on the Czech market for the generation and wholesale supply of electricity, in breach of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) (see IP/11/891). In particular, the Commission has concerns, that CEZ may have pre-emptively reserved capacity in the transmission network, with a view to preventing the market entry of potential competitors.
Following in-depth discussions, CEZ has proposed commitments to address the Commission's concerns. In particular, CEZ offered to divest one of the following generation assets in the Czech Republic: Pocerady, Chvaletice, Detmarovice or Melnik III together with Tisova.
A summary of the proposed commitments proposed by CEZ has been published in the EU's Official Journal. The full non-confidential version of the commitments is available at:
Interested parties can submit comments within one month from the date of publication.
The Commission opened the proceedings in July 2011 (see IP/11/891).
If the market test indicates that the commitments are a satisfactory solution to increase competition on the Czech market for the generation and wholesale supply of electricity, the Commission may adopt a decision under Article 9 of the EU's antitrust Regulation 1/2003, to make them legally binding on CEZ. Such an Article 9 decision does not conclude that there is an infringement of EU antitrust rules but legally binds the companies concerned to respect the commitments offered. If a company breaks such commitments, the Commission can impose a fine of up to 10% of its annual worldwide turnover, without having to find an infringement of the antitrust rules.