Brussels, 29th December 2008
The EdF group is the largest supplier of electricity in France and one of the largest players in the European electricity industry.
Following an ex-officio investigation, the Commission opened formal proceedings in July 2007 (see MEMO/07/313).
The Statement of Objections relates to contracts concluded by EdF with industrial customers in France. The Commission is concerned that these contracts may prevent customers from switching to other providers, thereby reducing competition on the market, in particular when considering the exclusive nature and duration of the contracts and the share of the market that is tied by them. Under the same contracts, the resale of electricity appears to be restricted. These practices may constitute infringements of the EC Treaty rules on abuse of dominant market positions (Article 82). In particular, these practices may have made it difficult for suppliers to enter and expand in the French electricity markets and may have rendered the wholesale market for electricity less liquid.
A Statement of Objections is a formal step in Commission antitrust investigations in which the Commission informs the parties concerned in writing of the objections raised against them. The addressee of a Statement of Objections can reply in writing to the Statement of Objections, setting out all facts known to it which are relevant to its defence against the objections raised by the Commission. The party may also request an oral hearing to present its comments on the case.
The Commission may then take a decision on whether conduct addressed in the Statement of Objections is compatible or not with the EC Treaty’s antitrust rules. Sending a Statement of Objections does not prejudge the final outcome of the procedure.