The AGCM (Authority for competition and the market), better known as Antitrust, has been very busy lately.
He launched an investigation into Meta for “alleged abuse of economic dependence on Siae.”
In addition, it has repeatedly fined the major landline and mobile phone companies. First for incongruous increases in bills, then for post-withdrawal invoices.
And now Enel is once again in the sights of the Antitrust. It had already happened in November last year, when a fine was imposed on Enel Energia (and some partner agencies) for “deceptive practices in the sale of energy services”.
This time the sector is that of electric mobility: let’s see better what happened.
Enel: investigation by the Antitrust
The news was published on Friday 14 April on the AGCM website.
In the note, at the end of which it is possible to download the twenty-two pages of the provision, we read that the investigation has been launched for a “possible abuse of a dominant position in the electric mobility sector.”
What, specifically, are the companies involved? And what are the disputed actions?
The companies involved
The Antitrust investigation against Enel concerns the group companies active in the electric mobility sector.
Three companies that operate as CPOs (Charging Point Operators) are under accusation. That is Enel X Way, Enel X Way Italia and Ewivathe latter joint venture with the Volkswagen group dedicated to the development of higher power infrastructure.
To put it simply, the three companies are active in the sector of charging stations for electric vehicles.
The disputed actions
Indeed, the three companies could assume a dominant position in the market for the installation and management of electric recharging stations on the national territory.
In short, the Antitrust investigation against Enel starts from the fact that the conduct of the three companies would exclude other MSP (Mobility service providers) operators from the market. And they would limit “the possible entry of other non-integrated operators who might be interested in this developing market, also due to the possible offer of new services in support of electric mobility of an innovative nature.”
Retail prices and flat offers
The possible abuse of a dominant position alleged against Enel X Way Srl, Enel X Way Italia Srl and Ewiva Srl consists in a “compression of the margins of operators active in the supply of electric recharging services to end customers” (the aforementioned MSPs).
These companies charge wholesale prices (the so-called roaming tariffs, within the interoperability contracts with the various MSPs) for access to their columns, which would be insufficient to allow “a minimum profitability if compared with the retail prices charged to end customers by the group company active as MSP through its Enel X Way app”.
This, explains the Antitrust, would occur both in retail prices and, to an even greater extent, “with reference to the so-called flat packages or offers, which allow you to withdraw a certain number of kWh per month for a predetermined total amount.”
Again in the note published on the website of the Antitrust Authority for the competition and the market, we learn that, on Thursday 13 April, Antitrust officials carried out – together with the Special Antitrust Unit of the Guardia di Finanza – inspections at the premises of the three companies “and of some companies not parties to the proceeding”.
Shortly after the opening of the investigation by the Antitrust, Enel’s response arrived, which we are publishing.
“Enel X Way and Enel X Way Italia specify that they have always acted in full compliance with the rules.
The proceeding concerns the alleged compression of the margins of competing operators in the market for recharging services for electric cars via columns positioned in places open to the public. In this regard, the companies specify that they have supported the development of electric mobility in Italy, guaranteeing sustainable costs for operators and competitive prices in the interest of end customers compatibly with a difficult market context determined by strong volatility in energy prices in the course of 2022.
In fact, this market dynamic has conditioned the pricing policies of all operators and substantially eroded the margins of all operators on the market, including Enel X Way, and not only those who have reported an alleged abuse of position to the Authority .
The companies are therefore confident of being able to demonstrate the full legitimacy and correctness of their work during the preliminary discussions with the Authority’s offices.”