Concurrent competition powers in sectoral regulation

Joint DTI and HM Treasury report (33 pages, PDF) examining concurrent competition powers in sectoral regulation. Under concurrency, Ofcom, Ofwat, Ofgem, ORR, NIAER and the CAA are given powers alongside the OFT to enforce the Competition Act 1998 (and the corresponding provisions of the EC Treaty), to carry out market studies, and to make market investigation references to the Competition Commission under section 131 of the Enterprise Act 2002.

The report finds that the processes for concurrency between the OFT and sector regulators have been working well, but expresses concern that the regulators are not making sufficient use of their competition law enforcement powers. Between January 2001 and September 2005, the sector regulators investigated 38 cases under the Competition Act 1998; none resulted in infringement decisions. The report encourages the regulators to adopt a more pro-active approach, and argues that "aggressive" use of general competition law is necessary in order for sectoral regulatory regimes to be rolled back effectively.

For further discussion see "Sector regulators given call to arms in competition law enforcement" on Ofcomwatch.

For further information or advice please contact Franck Latrémolière.

Filed under DTI/BERR, Electricity, Media, Public transport, Water.

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