On 11 August 2017 the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) announced the opening of an investigation into a suspected abuse of dominance by an unnamed company providing services to the energy industry. The regulator is looking into any infringement of the provisions of Chapter II of the Competition Act 1998 and/or Article 102 TFEU on abuse of a dominant position. The investigation is currently in the initial information gathering and evidence assessment phase and Ofgem expects to give a further update by the end of December 2017.
This announcement follows the opening of a separate investigation in October 2016 into a potential infringement of the prohibition of anti-competitive agreements and concerted practices under Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998 by a small number of unnamed parties. A further update on this investigation is expected by the end of September 2017.
These investigations are the only publicly announced investigations by Ofgem using its competition law powers. The decision to open a further investigation can also be seen against the backdrop of the CMA’s report on the operation of the concurrency arrangements published on 28 April 2017 which noted that regulators were keen to use the Competition Act 1998 powers but that the number of new cases remained below the desired level.