The Competition Council sanctioned with 6.3 million lei (approximately 1.3 million euro) the natural gas distributor Premier Energy, as legal successor of the company Gaz Sud, for abuse of a dominant position in the areas for which it has a distribution license.
Due to the effect of the specific legislation, Gaz Sud held a monopoly position on the market of natural gas distribution, related to the 31 localities (located in Ilfov county in particular) where it had a distribution license.
In the investigation launched in 2017, the competition authority found that Gas Sud imposed discriminatory tariffs for technical approval services for projects, reception of works and commissioning of natural gas use facilities (IUGN), differentiated for the each contractor of the works for the design and execution of the installations.
Thus, consumers that carried out the projects and the installations for Gaz Sud paid lower rates for the technical approval of the projects, the reception of the works and the commissioning of the installations for the use of natural gas, in front of the clients who called on other operators (competitors) for the realization of the projects and installations.
This way, Gaz Sud caused the competing companies a competitive disadvantage, with the purpose of removing them from the market. “This discriminatory tariff policy implemented by Gaz Sud distorted the competition on the design works market and on the IUGN execution works market in its distribution areas and, at the same time, affected 42 consumers, who paid more for the approval of the projects, respectively the reception and commissioning of the installations realized with other companies, without an objective justification from an economic point of view,” said Bogdan Chirițoiu, president of the Competition Council.
The company benefited from a 15% reduction in the fine because it recognized the violation of the law. At the same time, Premier Energy granted damages to the consumers worth a total value of about 88,000 lei.