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NMa Ceases Investigation of Energy Suppliers

The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has ceased its investigation into possible anti-competitive behaviour by Dutch energy suppliers. The investigation has not produced any concrete evidence of an infringement of the Competition Act.

NMa's investigation into the energy sector focussed, for instance, on electricity tenders, partly on the basis of reports received from Dutch municipalities. Various municipalities indicated that only a few energy companies responded to public tenders for electricity. NMa's investigation also took into account the fact that the low number of bids could also be explained by a lack of experience by the parties and the complexity of the lots put out to tender, as well as administrative problems relating to switching and invoicing. These administrative problems related partly to the transition to a liberalised energy market.

Given the structure of the Dutch energy market with its limited number of players and the existing consultative structures, NMa will continue to monitor this sector closely. If it receives new information in the future, NMa may decide to reopen the investigation. The Office of Energy Regulation (DTe), an office of NMa, supervises compliance with electricity and gas legislation.

In June 2004, NMa started an investigation into possible anti-competitive agreements between energy companies following reports from the market. In July 2004, NMa carried out on-site inspections at various electricity suppliers. In the course of the investigation, NMa held discussions with various market parties.