In January 2014 the Competition Protection Commission fined Energy Pro Grids AD – the electricity distribution company for Northeastern Bulgaria – Lev266,040 (approximately €136,024) for abuse of dominant position.

According to the commission, Energy Pro Grids the only licensor of electricity distribution in Northeastern Bulgaria, as it owns the electricity distribution grid in the region. The grid infrastructure qualifies as an essential facility because access to the grid is a precondition for entering the renewable energy electricity market. The commission concluded that Energy Pro Grids holds the dominant position in the region.

Further, the commission found that Energy Pro Grids had unjustifiably not fulfilled the legal requirements for each phase of the interconnection procedure to the grid in respect of the solar energy producer which submitted the complaint against it. This led to an overall delay in the interconnection procedure and in concluding the final agreement between Energy Pro Grids and the solar energy producer. The final negative result for the solar energy producer was that it could not enter the market on time because it was prevented from conducting business. The commission held that Energy Pro Grids' conduct constituted an abuse of its dominant position, as it impeded competition on the upstream renewable energy electricity market.

Although the fine is low, it follows earlier penalties for Energy Pro Grids and its economic group. In November 2013 the commission fined Energy Pro Grids Lev1,034,755 (approximately €529,062) for disproportionate management of the production capacities joined to the distribution grid. Earlier in 2013, the commission fined Energo - Pro Sales AD Lev1,687,484 (approximately €862,797) for abuse of dominant position on the electricity supply market in Northeastern Bulgaria.

For further information on this topic please contact Ilko Stoyanov or Mariya Papazova at Advokatsko Druzhestvo Andreev Stoyanov & Tsekova in cooperation with Schönherr Rechtsanwälte GmbH by telephone (+359 2 933 1072), fax (+359 2 986 1105) or email (i.stoyanov@schoenherr.bg or m.papazova@schoenherr.bg). The Advokatsko Druzhestvo Andreev Stoyanov & Tsekova website can be accessed at www.schoenherr.eu.