The Commission has adopted a decision that renders legally binding commitments offered by E.ON to effectively open up access to the German gas market thereby addressing concerns that it may have unfairly shut out competitors in a possible abuse of its dominant market position.
Following the Commission's antitrust investigation, E.ON undertook to release large capacity volumes at the entry points to its gas network by October 2010. The commitments are expected to have a major structural impact on the possibility for other companies to compete on the German market, benefitting both domestic and industrial gas consumers.
Access to gas pipelines is vital for new market entrants as insufficient access limits the ability to acquire customers, no matter how competitive the offer might be. The Commission’s investigation showed that E.ON had booked on a long-term basis the largest part of the available transport capacity at the entry points into its gas transmission networks. Such bookings may have prevented other gas suppliers from accessing the German gas market, preventing them from competing with E.ON. Therefore, the Commission came to the preliminary view that the long-term reservations might have infringed EU rules on the abuse of a dominant market position.