Do French electricity networks discriminate against railways?

Conseil de la concurrence opinion (13 pages in French, PDF) on the application of regulated electricity network tariff to railways and tram systems. The opinion was requested by a group of rail operators unhappy with the charges that they bear.

The Conseil does not express a view on the procedural question of whether it should have been consulted by the Government and the energy regulator CRE before they set the transmission price control: this is a matter for the administrative courts.

On the substance, the Conseil found insufficient evidence for it to agree with the railways that the transmission tariffs discriminate against them in a way that is not justified by cost differences. The issues include:

The Conseil also declined to endorse the railways' argument that the electricity charges that they bear can be seen as discriminatory and anti-competitive on the grounds that they place them at a competitive disadvantage to road, water or air transport.

An allegation that only some rail freight operators benefit from regulated electricity supply charges is discounted as being a consequence of the (controversial) law on regulated tariffs with no specific issue for railways.

The Conseil expresses hope that the dispute can be resolved as part of the consultation on new electricity network price controls.

For further information or advice please contact Franck Latrémolière.

Filed under Conseil de la concurrence, Electricity, France, Public transport.

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