Electricity and gas tariffs, now the antitrust intervenes

Electricity and gas tariffs, now the antitrust intervenes
The Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and the Environment (ARERA) had emphasized in its annual report that the tariffs of the free market for electricity and gas were inadequate, certainly very unattractive for those who had wanted to abandon the previous regime. He had also called for more control, though: something was not going right and more pressure on market players would soon be needed. The message clearly arrived loud and clear in the antitrust offices, where a first investigation was launched on the free gas and energy market.

Light and Gas: the antitrust investigation

These are the companies targeted by the AGCM survey: Enel Energia, Optima, Green Network, Illumia, Wekiwi, Sentra, Olimpia-Sinergy Group, Gasway, Dolomiti Energia, E.On, Axpo, Audax and Argos. Specifically, the dispute concerns "the lack of transparency in the indication of the economic conditions for the supply of electricity and gas on the free market".

The Antitrust Authority explains in its preliminary examination:

The analysis of the main commercial offers on the free market proposed by the companies has revealed the existence of various critical profiles of the information provided regarding the items that contribute to the formation of the overall price of electricity and gas, inclusive of charges which, once reported in the bill, are charged to consumers.

In particular, it appears that, before signing the contract, users are not adequately informed of the existence of some additional cost items to the price of the energy component, with the consequence that, only upon receipt of the bills , they realize the actual costs of electricity and gas supplies applied by these companies, which are higher than expected.

A perfect market is one in which the buyer is adequately informed; an imperfect market is one in which the buyer does not have correct and complete information and who develops their choices on the basis of knowledge that does not adhere to reality. The AGCM therefore intends to correct this situation by trying to accept "the existence of conducts relating to offers for the supply of electricity and gas on the free market that conflict with the provisions of the Consumer Code, in cases where the economic conditions envisaged in the contractual or promotional documentation by the various operators in the sector are misleading, inadequate or omissive ". The investigation will have to verify the existence of these circumstances, possibly bringing forward sanctions for off-line behavior.

#Antitrust: # investigation launched against 13 companies active in the supply of #electricity and #gas on the # mercatolibero #energy #trasparenza #conditionscontractual #offertecommerciali #prices #bollette #penali #recesso https://t.co/j9csJKlcUo

- Antitrust Authority (@antitrust_it) October 9, 2020

ARERA will look with interest at what will happen, but this move will certainly not be enough to put the free market back on track for years.

Source: AGCM

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