Athens court backs legality of RAE overpricing fine on PPC

The legality of a decision made by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, in 2013, to impose a 4.4 million-euro fine on main power utility PPC for violation of regulatory obligations and abuse of its dominant market position to overcharge industrial consumers, has been approved by a local Administrative Court of Appeals, in a verdict delivered yesterday.

RAE handed PPC the fine after the power utility had refused to comply with a series of decisions taken by the authority in response to industrial consumer overcharging complaints.

More specifically, a reliable source has informed energypress that the Athens-based appeals court endorsed the legality of RAE’s fine imposed on PPC as the power utility breached industry regulations because it refused to propose a transparent, reliable, objective and customized pricing policy following substantial and positive negotiations.

Responding to a PPC claim that RAE is not authorized to decide on competition practices, the appeals court ruled that the regulatory authority’s framework of responsibilities concerning the energy market’s monitoring and supervision includes implementing measures to maintain competition laws.

The court also ruled that the existing regulatory framework is sufficient and provides clear-cut criteria on how RAE determined the fine.

As for the level of the fine imposed, the court ruled that PPC had eventually shown an understanding for its legal and regulatory obligations and offered new tariffs for high and medium-voltage consumers, applied retroactively as of January 1, 2013, which was the deadline set. As a result, the appeals court reduced the fine imposed on PPC to 880,000 euros, or 2 percent of 44 million euros of revenues collected by the power utility from the industrial sector.