EDP’s plans thrown out by Brussels

Portugal’s electricity producer and supplier EDP (Energia de Portugal) has long harboured ambitions to buy GDP (Gás de Portugal) and create a national energy group capable of competing with the Spanish groups in a free Iberian energy market. However, EU Competition Commissioner, Mario Monti, has informed the Portuguese Minister of Economic Activities, Álvaro Barreto, that the commission is firmly against a fusion of the gas and electricity sectors in Portugal, although a final decision will only be made this month.

According to Monti’s office, the reasons given are that “Portuguese consumers, including industrial clients, are already paying some of the highest energy prices in Europe and this fusion would not have improved the situation”.

At a recent lunch organised by the British-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce and Price Coopers Waterhouse, Álvaro Barreto commented that it wasn’t reasonable to accept a solution that would compromise the main objective of the merger: the formation of a group capable of competing with the Spanish to provide energy across the Iberian Peninsular. However, the EU’s policy is in favour of the large former national energy grids being broken up into smaller private companies able to compete with one another and so provide cheaper energy to the public.