CAT hands down National Grid judgment

06 May 2009

Following a hearing lasting 11 days at which the Tribunal received extensive evidence from witnesses of fact and expert economists the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) has delivered its judgment on an appeal by National Grid plc against a decision of the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (the Authority) published on 21 February 2008.

In the Decision the Authority found that National Grid had abused its dominant position in the market in Great Britain for the provision of domestic-sized gas meters, contrary to section 18 of the Competition Act 1998 Act and Article 82 of the EC Treaty. The Decision imposed a fine of £41.6 million on National Grid and ordered National Grid to put an end to the infringement. A number of the competing meter operators – Capital Meters Ltd, Siemens plc and Meter Fit Ltd – intervened in the proceedings in support of the Authority. This was the first significant decision for a number of years by a UK competition authority under section 18/Article 82.

In its judgment the Tribunal dismissed National Grid’s appeal against the finding of infringement but allowed it in other respects, including in reducing the fine imposed on National Grid to £30 million.

Jon Turner QC, Meredith Pickford, Josh Holmes and Laura Elizabeth John were instructed by Pinsent Masons for National Grid plc.

Christopher Vajda QC and Kassie Smith were instructed by Hill Hofstetter for Siemens plc.

Christopher Vajda QC and Ben Rayment were instructed by Slaughter & May for Capital Meters Limited.

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Jon Turner QC
Kassie Smith QC
Ben Rayment
Meredith Pickford
Laura Elizabeth John