Bulgaria’s Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) has fined the state gas utility Bulgargaz a record 23.4 million leva (about 11.95 million euro) for abusing its dominant market position.
In a decision published on July 30, the regulator said that Bulgargaz used unfair trade practices, namely forcing private companies to extend existing gas supply contracts without any re-negotiation of clauses.
At the same time, Bulgargaz routinely imposed contractual terms on customers, who were forced to accept the company’s demands in order to avoid breach of contract, but were not given any reciprocal rights, CPC said.
One such example was the company’s methodology for contracting sales in advance, which forced clients to agree to buy higher quantities of gas than they needed.
Bulgargaz exploited its dominant position as the “public supplier” of gas, taking advantage of the lack of any rivals on the market, which forced customers to deal with the state utility, CPC said.
The period covered by the regulator’s investigation was August 2010 to December 2012. The fine can be appealed within 14 days at the Supreme Administrative Court.
(Photo: Jayesh Nair)