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The company is chaired by Francisco Reynés. EFE
High Court upholds whopping 19.5-million-euro fine on Spanish energy giant Naturgy for market manipulation
Energy prices

High Court upholds whopping 19.5-million-euro fine on Spanish energy giant Naturgy for market manipulation

The multinational natural gas and electrical energy utilities company, chaired by Francisco Reynés, earned 13 million euros between October 2016 and January 2017 following unfair price hikes

Mateo Balín

Sunday, 7 April 2024, 20:56

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Spain's High Court has upheld eight fines totalling 19.5 million euros on energy company Naturgy for manipulating electricity prices between October 2016 and January 2017.

The National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) imposed the fines on Naturgy in 2019 for raising prices in the daily market for eight combined cycle power plants. The High Court then dismissed an appeal filed by the energy company, which is chaired by Francisco Reynés.

According to the CNMC, between October 2016 and January 2017, Naturgy offered prices higher than its marginal costs and those of other similar companies for eight of its combined cycle plants in Catalonia, Levante Norte, eastern Andalucía and the Campo de Gibraltar (Cadiz). Specifically, the Besós 4 plants, Puerto de Barcelona groups 1 and 2, Sagunto groups 1, 2 and 3, the Malaga 1 plant and the San Roque 1 plant.

As a result of Naturgy's market manipulation, its plants were required by the system operator in the process of resolving technical restrictions on a number of days when they could have been dispatched on the day-ahead market. From this behaviour, the CNMC estimated the company would have obtained a minimum profit of 13 million euros.

Abnormally high offer

"The price offer made by the appellant was abnormally high and resulted in the application of the system of restrictions, which led to an increase in the price in favour" of the energy company, the High Court ruled.

The judges rejected Naturgy's allegations that the company's right to the presumption of innocence had been violated, given that the evidence to sanction it was insufficient. "There is sufficient evidence of the data and circumstances imputed to the plaintiff," they told the court. Spain's High Court therefore considered the conduct as fraudulent.

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