Competition watchdog raids energy companies
6 July 2004 , AMSTERDAM - The Dutch competition watchdog NMa raided the offices of energy companies Nuon, Essent, Delta and Eneco on Tuesday searching for evidence of breaches of competition regulations.
6 July 2004
AMSTERDAM - The Dutch competition watchdog NMa raided the offices of energy companies Nuon, Essent, Delta and Eneco on Tuesday searching for evidence of breaches of competition regulations.
The investigation was focused on the Essent head office in Den Bosch and the Amsterdam headquarters of Nuon. It is not yet known where the NMa raids on firms Eneco and Delta took place.
The NMa also refused to confirm whether the raids were connected with the liberalisation of the Dutch energy market, which came into force on 1 July, news agency ANP reported.
The liberalisation means that Dutch households may now choose their energy supplier based on price and quality of service. Recent research indicates however that there is very little difference in price.
"But is not for nothing that the NMa conducted its raids after 1 July. Abuses in that market can now be included in our investigation," a spokeswoman said.
The energy companies have confirmed they will co-operate fully with the NMa, but remain tight-lipped about the investigation.
Despite the tight-lipped response, Essent spokesman suggested the investigation was not only focused on the energy market. "I think that it is a broader story," he said.
Eneco Public Relations Director Richard Kimman said he did not think that the company had breached regulations. He said the firm's activities were transparent and he confirmed it would co-operate with the inquiry.
In response to the raids, opposition Labour PvdA MP Ferd Crone demanded immediate answers from Economic Affairs Minister Laurens Jan Brinkhorst.
In a letter addressed to the minister he questioned the minister if the raids were connected with the liberalisation of the energy market. If so, he said consumers should be made aware of this immediately.
Crone has repeatedly warned in recent years that the liberalisation of the energy market will lead to illegal price agreements.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news