EU to investigate anti-competitive behaviour in energy market
The European Commission announced on October 13 a "toolbox" of proposals that EU member states can adopt to address the spike in gas and power prices, adding it would "investigate possible anti-competitive behaviour."
Supply constraints and booming LNG demand in Asia has driven European spot prices to record heights in recent weeks, and Russia's Gazprom has faced criticism for exacerbating the crisis by keeping some supply back.
The commission did not disclose any further details about its investigation. The other measures it proposed to shield consumers and businesses from the price spike included emergency income support for energy-poor consumers, temporary deferrals of payments, safeguards to avoid disconnections from the grid, temporary cuts in tax paid by vulnerable households and state aid to companies and industries.
The commission also said it would "enhance international energy outreach to ensure the transparency, liquidity and flexibility of the international markets," and would ask the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) to improve monitoring of developments in the carbon market. It will also seek to expand access to renewable power purchase agreements and support them via flanking measures.
The response to the price spike should be "rapid and coordinated," the commission said, noting that the existing legal framework allowed the EU and its members to take action to protect consumers and businesses.
"Rising global energy prices are a serious concern for the EU. As we emerge from the pandemic and begin our economic recovery, it is important to protect vulnerable consumers and support European companies," energy commissioner Kadri Simson said in a statement.