Utilities Law Review - Volume 19 - Issue 3

Update on OFT Procedure
Euan Burrow and Luke Ainger
Ashurst, London

This article summarises key developments in the various areas of Office of Fair Trading UK anti-trust enforcement and market studies. The principles of law and many of the procedural developments are of direct application to the regulated and utilities sectors where the relevant sectoral regulators enjoy concurrent powers with the OFT to enforce the Competition Act 1998, while the OFT's anti-trust enforcement practice is of more general relevance to any compliance programme.

However, given the considerable amount of institutional and procedural reform in this area, the article begins with a short review of key changes and proposed developments in that area.

Greek Energy Strategy: Overcoming the Challenges Ahead
Christina Vlachtsis
M & P Bernitsas Law Offices

Greece's electricity and gas markets have historically been structured in a predominantly monopolistic way and market opening has in principle been driven by EU law requirements. Having said this, Greece is a country which has learnt well from lessons of other countries and there have been a number of occasions where the regulatory authority has successfully managed to address problems associated with natural monopolies and developing competition in situations where market players have a dominant position, this being the case for PPC and DEPA, the Greek electricity and gas incumbents. Greece is also strategically placed to be an energy hub both from gas and electricity perspectives whilst the future could also be promising for oil and gas exploration and production provided that political challenges can be surpassed.

The purpose of this article is to consider how Greek energy strategy has evolved in terms of law and policy. An overview of important steps which are being planned in the near future, to further promote competition and enhance diversity and security of supply, will also be provided; these have the important objective of contributing towards the country's finances by attracting foreign investment.

In the first part of the article, the regulatory structure and degree of liberalisation and privatisation of the electricity and gas sectors will be examined, while the second part will elaborate on diversity of energy sources and routes and will address the need to upgrade and develop new energy infrastructure, which are integral to security of supply. The article will conclude that, although Greece's traditional approach to change may have resulted in some degree of competition, a bolder approach to reform is now necessary in order to overcome the challenges ahead. This will require the commitment of the government to proceed in implementing the required measures.

Case Comment
Water for Life: Developing a Customer-focused Water Industry ?
The Defra White Paper
Debbie Legge
Associate Lecturer in Law, The Open University

This comment considers   how the regulatory structure   of customer representation in the water industry will be reformed.  It will consider the historical background to customer representation   in the water industry to   consider how the proposed reforms may affect accountability and customer representation in the future. It will set out the proposed changes both in the White Paper and in the   BIS Report  published  in June 2011. It will also highlight some of the issues raised in the `Gray ' Report  published in  July 2011. It will consider how customer regulation   will look now until 2014 and then from 2014 onwards.