Albion Water v Ofwat (Shotton site) [2006] CAT 36

Competition Appeal Tribunal judgment (125 pages, PDF) in the Albion Water / Welsh Water (Shotton) case.

In line with the Tribunal's main judgment in the case, this ruling quashes the substance of Ofwat's non-infringement decision. It declares that Welsh Water held a dominant position and that it committed a margin squeeze abuse by offering a common carriage access price to Albion Water which would not have allowed Albion to earn a margin on a retail price competitive with Welsh's retail tariff. It refers to Ofwat (under the Tribunal's supervision) the question of whether Welsh Water's access price offer was also unfair in the light of the relevant costs, and therefore an exploitative abuse.

The interim measures (a bulk supply from Welsh Water at a price that allows Albion Water to earn a margin) are maintained during Ofwat's investigation into Welsh Water's costs and potential exploitative abuse.

The Tribunal considered that it did not have jurisdiction to order Ofwat to withdraw its guidance on access codes. But the judgment recalls at paragraph 358 that the Tribunal is not satisfied that this guidance is correct or lawful, or that it would be lawful for undertakers to follow it.

Both Welsh Water and Ofwat have appealed or threatened to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

For further information or advice please contact Franck Latrémolière.

Filed under Article 82, CAT, Water.

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