The proceedings were opened with a view to adopting a decision in application of Council Regulation n° 1/2003 and concern the creation of unjustified obstacles to third party access to the natural gas transportation network allegedly put in place by RWE and its direct or indirect subsidiaries.

The suspected practices constituting possible infringements of Article 82 EC concern prices charged for access to gas networks operated by RWE TSO, inflation of RWE TSO’s costs, maintenance of an artificial network fragmentation and failure to release transportation capacity to allow customer switching. These suspected practices create additional barriers to entry into the regional wholesale gas supply market in RWE’s core grid area in North Rhine-Westphalia protecting RWE’s dominant natural gas supply business and resulting in market foreclosure - principally by raising rivals’ costs - to the detriment of consumers. [20 April 2007]