The Belgian Competition Authority (“BCA”) investigated putative anticompetitive practices of the electricity operator Electrabel in the Belgian wholesale day-ahead market. BCA expressed concerns that Electrabel had abused its dominant position by physically withdrawing capacities (for example, through plant maintenance) and/or charging excessive prices amounting to an economic withdrawal of capacity.
Compass Lexecon provided economic analyses of (i) product and geographic market definition in connection with the articulation of wholesale spot and forward markets, as well as with the coupling of the French, Dutch, German and Belgian wholesale markets; (ii) the alleged dominance of Electrabel over the Belgian wholesale day-ahead market, through a pivotality analysis; (iii) the objective justifications of the bidding scheme (the “bid ladder”) implemented by Electrabel; and (iv) the impact of the alleged practices upon wholesale prices. Compass Lexecon submitted expert reports and participated at the BCA hearing. The BCA dropped several of its initial claims, only retaining part of the bid ladder scheme, acknowledging it had only a minor impact, and thus imposed a very moderate sanction on Electrabel.
The Compass Lexecon team comprised David Sevy, Boaz Moselle, Dmitri Perekhodtsev, Enrique Andreu, Frederic Palomino, Valerie Meunier, Jeremiah Juts, Guillaume Duquesne, Francesco Astolfi, Anastasia Tseomashkho and Jaime Coronado. We worked with Alexandre Vandencasteele and Annick Vroninks of Ashurst LLP.