The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) was notified of suspected use of practices restricting competition related to PGE's involvement in the Ostrołęka C development.
The case concerns the intention to concentrate on the energy generation market with the participation of energy companies ENEA S.A., Energa S.A. and PGE S.A. in connection with the construction of the Ostrołęka C coal-fired power plant, which was not notified to the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection. On 7 January 2019, in its current report no. 1/2019, PGE S.A. announced its intention to join the construction of Ostrołęka C Power Plant. We could learn more about PGE's talks with Enea and Energa in an article by Karolina Baca-Pogorzelska "Ostrołęka more expensive and... Chinese" published in Dziennik Gazeta Prawna:
As we have established, the recently invited Polish Energy Group (PGE) decided to contribute to the investment, despite the fact that it bears the costs of completing its coal projects in Opole and Turow, and plans to build wind farms in the Baltic Sea. It is speculated that in return, PGE could finally get the green light for consolidation of the energy sector (we wrote about a possible monopoly or energy duopoly a year ago). According to our information, PGE could first "swallow" Energa, the acquisition of which had been blocked by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection before it obtained stock exchange listing. When asked, PGE replies that it will not comment on any discussions regarding Ostrołęka C.
PGE has made attempts of concentration on the energy market in the past. On October 20, 2010, the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection received an application from the company concerning the intention to take over Energa, a company from Gdańsk. At that time, however, the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection issued a ban on concentration.
An example of a concentration is also the creation of a joint venture such as Elektrownia Ostrołęka C z o.o., owned by Enea and Energa - after prior notification of such intention, the companies obtained a consent of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK). Joining the project as a third partner would also meet the definition of concentration and as such is subject to the obligation to notify the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection. Importantly, it is not the concentration that should be notified, but the intention to carry it out before it becomes a fact.
Baca-Pogorzelska throws more light on the matter in her latest article:
As we learned, the financing model presented at the meeting with banks at the beginning of January assumed that PGE would contribute as much as PLN 1.5 billion to the construction of Ostrołęka C -slightly less than Energa (PLN 1.6 billion), which would be the operator of the installation, but more than Enea (PLN 1.275 billion), the partner of the project. In the case of PGE, it would be a question of granting a loan, but the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection is still to look into the matter. Reason? It is a unique phenomenon that one coal-fired unit with a capacity of 1 GW, comparable to PGE's investments in Opole, Tauron in Jaworzno or Enea in Kozienice, should consist of three out of four energy utilities of the State Treasury.
The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection may refuse to grant consent for concentration if it would adversely affect the structure of the market and limit the customers' choice of energy supplier, and consequently lead to a significant restriction of competition and violation of the collective interest of consumers.