Robin Rigg owner seeks £9.4M from cable-maker after cartel inflated price

RWE Renewables has sought damages of £9.42 million with regard to the cost of installing export cables for the Robin Rigg offshore wind farm. The claim comes after the European Commission decided in 2014 that a cartel had operated in the high voltage power cables sector, comprising Nexans and Prysmian, between 1999 and 2009. An appeal by Prysmian at the General Court of the European Union and thereafter to the Court of Justice of the European Union was dismissed in September 2020.
The cartel applied to supplies of underground power cables of 110 kV and above and to submarine power cables of 33kV. The Commission found that the operation of the cartel involved the allocation of customers and territories and the allocation of customers within Europe between European producers. In Europe only the appointed producer would bid, or bids would be agreed between producers in advance to ensure that the appointed producer’s bid would be the lowest.
RWE claims that the supply of export cables, from the initial request for quotation to execution of the Prysmian contract, occurred within the Cartel Period and the effect was to inflate the price.
The cable was sold to an Offshore Transmission Owners at a price determined by Ofgem, which did not include any adjustment as regards to the cartel overcharge, as the existence of the cartel was not known at the time. But the claimants say that the whole of the overcharge ultimately came back to rest with them and they are seeking damages of £9.42 million plus costs.