Competition law and energy
Produced in partnership with Jamie Dunne of Brodies LLP
Competition law and energy

The following Energy guidance note Produced in partnership with Jamie Dunne of Brodies LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Competition law and energy
  • Background to competition in the UK energy sector
  • Concurrent competition jurisdiction of Ofgem
  • The structure of the energy markets and key competition issues in each
  • Market definition issues
  • Antitrust
  • Mergers
  • Market investigations
  • Unbundling
  • State aid
  • more

Background to competition in the UK energy sector

The legislative framework for the energy industry in the UK remains the legislation which brought about privatisation of the electricity and gas markets in the 1980s: the Gas Act 1986 and the Electricity Act 1989. These have evolved over time, with the most significant amendments being brought about by the Utilities Act 2000, the Energy Acts 2004, 2008, 2010 and 2013, and the regulations implementing the Electricity Directive and the Gas Directive.

The market in Northern Ireland is integrated with that in the Republic of Ireland rather than that in Great Britain (referred to in the rest of this Practice Note as ‘GB’). The focus of this note will be on competition in the GB market(s).

The energy markets are regulated by the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (GEMA) which acts by its administrative office, the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem). GEMA has concurrent powers with the CMA under the Competition Act 1998. In the rest of this Practice Note, Ofgem will be used to refer to both GEMA and its administrative office.

In addition to being subject to competition law, electricity distribution licensees and gas transportation licensees have statutory duties to facilitate competition in supply and generation of electricity and supply of gas respectively.

Concurrent competition jurisdiction of Ofgem

Ofgem