The Commission has opened a formal investigation under EC Treaty State Aid rules into potential aid to large and medium-sized companies and to the electricity incumbents in Spain in the form of artificially low regulated industrial tariffs for electricity. The regulated tariffs led to a deficit of €3.8 billion in the Spanish electricity system in 2005. This deficit will be financed by a new charge paid by all Spanish consumers in their electricity bill for the next 14 years. The Commission will assess whether the 2005 tariffs provided State Aid to energy intensive, large and medium-sized industries and to the electricity incumbents and if so, whether such aid could give rise to disproportionate distortions of trade and competition within the EU's Single Market. The Commission's State Aid investigation does not concern the regulated tariffs for small companies and households. The decision to open an investigation gives interested parties an opportunity to comment on the proposed measure. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.
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