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PR(00)15: The EFTA Surveillance Authority has decided to close a complaint concerning electricity prices in Norway

16.9.2002

The EFTA Surveillance Authority decided on 26 July 2000 to close a complaint from the environmental organisation Bellona (“Miljøstiftelsen Bellona”). The complainant alleged that certain Norwegian enterprises would receive State aid through new long-term contracts for purchase of electric power from the Norwegian state owned power producer, Statkraft.

According to the complaint, prices in the new contracts would be below market prices and consequently be contrary to the State aid provisions of the EEA Agreement. Statkraft would be obliged to enter into the mentioned contracts on the basis of conditions established by the Norwegian Parliament. The complainant referred to the proposal from the Norwegian Government to the Parliament (“St. prp. nr. 52 (1998-99) Om Statkrafts industrikontrakter og leieavtaler”) which was presented on 26 March 1999.

One of the conditions established by Parliament was that enterprises with existing power contracts would be obliged to terminate these with effect from 1 January 2001, when the new contracts were supposed to enter into force. Enterprises would be compensated for this advanced expiry by a price reduction in the new contracts. On 14 June 2000, the Parliament approved a proposal from the Government (“St. prp. nr. 78 (1999-2000) Endringer i vilkårene for Statkrafts industrikontrakter og leieavtaler”), eliminating the previously suggested termination clauses.

On this basis, the Authority has compared price conditions for the new contracts and prices for long-term contracts obtainable in the market. Based on comprehensive information submitted by the Norwegian authorities and also by independent actors in the electricity market, the Authority has not found that the new contracts would contain State aid.

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