Expatica news

EU investigating Electrabel over dominant position

The European Commission has been looking into whether Electrabel abused its dominant position after reaching a nuclear power plant deal with the Belgian government, a spokesman said on Saturday.

The preliminary investigation has been underway “for several months,” said Amelia Torres, spokeswoman for EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, confirming reports in the Belgian newspapers De Tijd and L’Echo.

Electrabel, a unit of French utility group GDF Suez, is the leading electricity provider in Belgium.

Torres did not confirm reports that the EU’s executive branch — which enforces competition policy across the 27-nation bloc — acted in response to complaints from green energy providers Electrawinds and Eneco.

According to L’Echo, the two enterprises contend that a October 2009 agreement between the Belgian government and GDF Suez to extend the working life of Belgium’s three oldest nuclear power plants by 10 years reinforced Electrabel’s dominant position in the Belgian energy market.