Class action seeks compensation for GB customers following cable cartel decision

GB customers could benefit from compensation from cable manufacturers who operated a cartel for ten years, if an application lodged at the Competition Appeals Tribunal (CAT) is successful. The class action, against Nexans, NKT and Prysmian, is being led by ex energy regulator Claire Spottiswood.
The European Commission found in April 2014 that 11 makers of high voltage cables had operated a cartel between 1999 and 2009 and it fined them £300 million. After 15 appeals by the defendants the case reached its last final decision in September 2020.
The Commission said that the unlawful cartel in the high-voltage underground and submarine power cables market, members of the cartel allocated power cables projects according to geographic region or customer and exchanged information on prices and other commercially sensitive information in order to ensure that the designated power cable supplier would be able to present the most attractive offer to the customer. The cartel was policed and reinforced via reporting obligations and practices such as the collective refusal to supply accessories or technical assistance to certain competitors.
The CAT Application says that overcharging by the cartel for high-voltage cables was passed on to customers via charges levied by transmission and distribution operators in GB. The class action says people who bore the cost of paying for domestic consumption of electricity supplied via the distribution network in GB on or after 1 April 2001 should receive compensation.

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