Based on residential complaints the Office of Economic Competition started proceedings against Déldunántúli Gázszolgáltató (hereinafter: DDGáz), the gas supplier in South Transdanubia, and its three subsidiaries as the service providers charged an additional fee for the installations of pressure controller and consumption meter.

DDGáz has exclusive right on the market of gas supply on the territory of three counties of Hungary. During the connection process of gas supply to households DDGáz and its subsidiaries requested a special amount of fee for, among other jobs, like giving information to the request of customers etc., installation of pressure controller and consumption meter (in most cases HUF 5. 600) on the contrary of regulations. Government regulation provides that gas suppliers must do, on their own accounts, the installation of pressure controller and consumption meter as well as the maintenance and services of the meter and must not impose fee for providing data and security information to customers, necessary to the connection of gas supply.

According to the expert opinion requested by the investigation the chargeable fee cannot be more than the half of the fee, charged by DDGáz.

The undertakings involved requested the termination of the legal procedure against them, referring to the argument that they made such kind of works that are important from security reasons although that were not necessarily linked to the installation of the two instruments in question.

In its decision the Competition Council pointed out that the undertakings, using their monopolistic position, charged fees for works that were necessary for performing the supplying obligation in a continuous, safety and well measurable way. The cost of these obligations of the supplier must be covered by the general consumer price paid for the gas consumption.

Under the Competition Act the Competition Council considered the market conduct of DDGáz abusive and imposed a fine amounting to HUF 3 000 000 (ECU 12 000) on each undertaking.

May 13, 1999. Budapest

Dr. Györffy István sk.
Dr. Bodócsi András sk.
Dr. Kállai Mária sk.
Véghelyi Ágnes