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Complaint from the Prosecutor's Office against Naturgy for abusive increase in electricity prices during the pandemic

Jesus Carames

June 6, 2024 | 4:52 pm

The Prosecutor's Office of the National Court has filed a complaint against the company Naturgy Generación SL for a crime related to the market and consumers of electrical energy. The accusation is based on the abusive increase in energy production prices at the Sabón 3 combined cycle thermal power plant, from March 2019 to December 2020., coinciding with the economic and social crisis derived from Covid-19.

Abuse of dominant position and unfair pricing strategies

The proceedings carried out by the Prosecutor's Office have concluded that Naturgy Generación abused its dominant position in the electricity market for technical adjustments. The company adopted, “consciously and deliberately”, a strategy of offering offers at prices that were not equitable and well above those resulting in environments of greater competition.. This maneuver allowed Naturgy Generación to obtain an unjustified profit of 43,2 million euros, generating a significant extra cost for the marketing entities and, ultimately, for consumers.

Origin of proceedings and key documentation

The pre-procedural proceedings were initiated following a complaint filed by FACUA, a consumer organization that protects the rights of users. The National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) also played a crucial role, providing documentation and reports that supported the investigation..

The proceedings were conducted jointly by the lieutenant prosecutor of the National Court, Marta Durántez Gil, and the Coordinating Prosecutor of the Administrative and Social Litigation Section of the National Court Prosecutor's Office, Manuel Campoy Miñarro. Both prosecutors worked closely to unravel Naturgy Generación's abusive practices and document the inflated pricing strategy that harmed consumers..

Impact and consequences for consumers

The abusive increase in energy production prices not only affected the marketing entities, but also had a direct impact on final consumers. At a time of economic and social crisis, with many families facing financial difficulties due to the Covid-19 pandemic, these types of practices are especially harmful and condemnable..

The complaint filed by the National Court Prosecutor's Office highlights the need to protect consumers from abusive practices in the energy market. This case highlights the importance of effective surveillance and regulation by organizations such as the CNMC and the decisive action of judicial authorities to guarantee a fair and competitive market..

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