EC Says Tallinna Vesi Has No Legal Leg to Stand On
In response to a 2010 complaint from Tallinna Vesi, the European Commission this week ruled that the Estonian capital's water utility does not have have a valid gripe regarding its long-running dispute with a state regulator.
The Commission said on Monday the complaint could not be upheld, but added that it did not include a detailed analysis. It also noted its decision did not have any bearing on the court case in Estonia and that the courts must ascertain whether a change to antitrust legislation caused unlawful harm to the utility, Tallinna Vesi.
Tallinna Vesi, a publicly listed company, said in a press release on Monday that the Estonian Anti-Monopoly Act "attempts to retroactively apply to the company's and the sector's rates" and said it would continue its battle to be allowed to set the rates it wants.
Often criticized for its profit margins, the company counters that under its privatization agreement, it should have more liberty in setting rates. The Competition Authority disagrees.
The authority rejected a move by the company to increase prices in 2011 and the company said the hikes would have amounted to 90 million euros by 2020, the length of the current contract.
Tallinna Vesi also said it would seek an opinion from the European Union Ombudsman and turn to the European Court of Justice.