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Long-term Energy Supply Contracts in European Competition Policy: Fuzzy not Crazy

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  • Jean-Michel Glachant
  • Adrien de Hauteclocque

Abstract

Long-term supply contracts often have ambiguous effects on the competitive structure, investment and consumer welfare in the long term. In a context of market building, these effects are likely to be worsened and thus even harder to assess. Since liberalization and especially since the release of the Energy Sector Enquiry in early 2007, the portfolio of long-term supply contracts of the former incumbents have become a priority for review by the European Commission and the national competition authorities. It is widely believed that European Competition authorities take a dogmatic view on these contracts and systemically emphasize the risk of foreclosure over their positive effects on investment and operation. This paper depicts the methodology that has emerged in the recent line of cases and argues that this interpretation is largely misguided. It shows that a multiple-step approach is used to reduce regulation costs and balance anti-competitive effects with potential efficiency gains. However, if an economic approach is now clearly implemented, competition policy is constrained by the procedural aspect of the legal process and the remedies imposed remain open for discussion.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Michel Glachant & Adrien de Hauteclocque, 2009. "Long-term Energy Supply Contracts in European Competition Policy: Fuzzy not Crazy," RSCAS Working Papers 2009/06, European University Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:rsc:rsceui:2009/06
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/1814/10623
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    Cited by:

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    3. Oggioni, Giorgia & Smeers, Yves, 2012. "Evaluating the application of different pricing regimes and low carbon investments in the European electricity market," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 1356-1369.
    4. Brodrechtova, Yvonne, 2015. "Economic valuation of long-term timber contracts: Empirical evidence from Germany," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 1-9.
    5. Boussena, S. & Locatelli, C., 2013. "Energy institutional and organisational changes in EU and Russia: Revisiting gas relations," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 180-189.
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    8. Guy Meunier, 2011. "Imperfect Competition and Long-term Contracts in Electricity Markets: Some Lessons from Theoretical Models," Chapters, in: Jean-Michel Glachant & Dominique Finon & Adrien de Hauteclocque (ed.), Competition, Contracts and Electricity Markets, chapter 6, Edward Elgar Publishing.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Long-term supply contracts; Competition Policy; European Union;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law
    • L42 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Vertical Restraints; Resale Price Maintenance; Quantity Discounts
    • L44 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Antitrust Policy and Public Enterprise, Nonprofit Institutions, and Professional Organizations

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