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06 Nov 2020, 14:14
Benjamin Wehrmann

Smaller energy companies vow resistance against E.ON-RWE deal at EU level

Clean Energy Wire

An alliance of smaller energy companies in Germany is organising opposition to the asset-swap deal of industry heavyweights RWE and E.ON, arguing it would turn "competitors into accomplices" and heavily distort a smooth functioning of the power market. The initiative that includes energy companies like Greenpeace Energy, Naturstrom, LEE NRW, EWS Schönau and others aims to contest the European Commission’s approval, which has received explicit backing by the German government, with several of the initiative's members already having filed lawsuits to reverse it. "The whole process is opaque and now also being delayed by the EU Commission," the initiative criticised, arguing that E.ON and RWE had been given the go-ahead, but the Commission had not yet provided a formal explanation of its decision until now - almost one and a half years later. "Competitors are being stripped of any chance to challenge this, while the two companies create precedents," the initiative said, adding that a "vivid competition" of medium-sized local utilities, independent providers and new market actors would generate the innovation needed for the energy transition and satisfy customer needs. "The German government has to end its preferential treatment of big players," the group of companies stated, adding that they will launch a petition to EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager and to German economy minister Peter Altmaier to support their cause.

The European Commission in early 2019 said it would not raise antitrust objections to the deal between German utilities RWE and E.ON. The approval cleared the way for RWE to acquire the renewable energy businesses of both E.ON and Innogy, a former RWE subsidiary. Other energy companies have been sceptical of the deal since the onset, with two companies from the state of Saxony already having announced a merger to counter the dominance of utilities E.ON and RWE.

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