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Bulgarian Court Upholds Antitrust Fines Against Electric Companies

 |  April 4, 2021

Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court has upheld the decision of the Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) to fine three local units of Czech energy group CEZ with a total of 4.4 million levs (US$2.6 million), the antitrust body stated on Friday, April 2.

The court’s decision is final and cannot be appealed, the CPC said in a statement.

The competition authority stated it fined CEZ Electro Bulgaria, CEZ Bulgaria, and CEZ Distribution Bulgaria in June 2020 over abuse of dominant market position in negotiations with local payment services provider Fast Pay. The fines concern an agreement signed in 2016 by Fast Pay with CEZ Electro Bulgaria and CEZ Distribution Bulgaria, which were represented by holding company CEZ Bulgaria.

The CEZ units decided to terminate their framework agreement for cashless payment services with Fast Pay, which was forced to seek the renegotiation of the contract, as it was the main pillar of its strategy – to provide a single payment point for all types of bills, the antitrust body said in its decision last year.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Administrative Court upheld a decision of the CPC to fine CEZ Distribution Bulgaria with 1.06 million levs and CEZ Electro Bulgaria with 1.14 million levs. According to the regulator’s decision published in 2017, the two companies used their position to exchange information and obstruct local companies’ access to the liberalized electricity market.

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