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When is it abusive for a network operator to restrict exports?

August 21st, 2012 by Bert Willems, Tilburg University

Restricting international trade between Sweden and Denmark – that is the abuse the Swedish network operator Svenska Kraftnät was accused of by the European Commission. By limiting energy exports to Denmark, Svenska Kraftnät relieved internal congestion on its network, as the export restrictions reduced the total amount of energy flows over its network. However, by doing so, Svenska Kraftnät gave consumers in South Sweden the opportunity to buy cheap energy from North Sweden, but not Danish consumers. This was a clear violation of Article 102 of the Treaty, according to the Commission, as Svenska Kraftnät is a dominant firm that might have abused its position by discriminating between customers based on nationality.

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