Energy market: EU Commission sues Germany for competition rules

Germany should not have implemented EU targets for competition in the energy markets inadequately. The Commission is now moving to the ECJ.

Energy market: EU Commission sues Germany for competition rules

The EU Commission has filed an action against Germany because of breach of rules on energy markets. The federal government should not have implemented EU directives that are intended to ensure greater competition and lower prices. The complaint will now be dealt with by European Court of Justice.

Firstly, Commission accuses Germany that federal Network agency is not independent enough. The agency, as a regulator, has little discretionary power, for example, in definition of network charges, Commission states. This was due to detailed regulations by federal government. As a result, government has powers that should be responsibility of independent supervisory authorities under EU law.

On or hand, Commission sees shortcomings in requirements for separating energy producers and electricity networks. The rules are intended to ensure that energy networks can also be used by competitors. Among or things, Commission accuses Germany that rules for changing managers between divisions are not strict enough.

As early as February 2015, Commission had called for changes to implementation of EU's third energy package. In July 2017, federal government improved, but Commission does not yet consider requirements to be fulfilled.

The Federal Association of Energy and Water Management (BDEW) reacted sceptically to complaint: "In sense of existing separation of powers, legislator must be able to set legal framework for official decisions", association said. "In our view, laws and regulations that have been adopted do not restrict independence of regulatory authorities." There was no reaction from federal government itself at first.

Updated Date: 20 July 2018, 12:02

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