The Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (the Authority) has published its decision to accept commitments from PayPoint Plc and a number of its subsidiaries (PayPoint) to remove exclusivity provisions from their current contracts and to offer separate contracts to their energy supplier clients for the provision of over-the-counter (OTC) and non-OTC energy prepayment services.
This is to address the competition concerns identified by the Authority in the course of its investigation into whether there was an infringement by PayPoint of Chapter II of the Competition Act 1998 (the Competition Act). The investigation examined whether PayPoint had abused or was abusing a dominant position in relation to the market for OTC top-up services to prepayment energy customers within Great Britain.
On 11 August 2021, the Authority published its notice of intention to accept commitments from PayPoint in relation to this investigation. The consultation process closed on 15 September 2021. The Authority received five consultation responses. These included comments on both the proposed commitments and on general issues relevant to the investigation and the market in question. The Authority carefully considered the responses received and is satisfied that the commitments offered address its competition concerns and that accepting commitments is the most appropriate approach in this particular case.
On 23 November 2021, the Authority decided to accept commitments from PayPoint and a donation of £12.5 million to Ofgem’s Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme (currently administered on Ofgem’s behalf by the Energy Saving Trust). Formal acceptance of these commitments by the Authority has resulted in our investigation being discontinued with no decision being made as to whether or not the Competition Act has been infringed.
(Please note that when this investigation was opened it considered whether there was an infringement of Chapter II of the Competition Act and/or Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European (TFEU). However, since the end of the Transition Period, the Authority’s investigation continued on the basis of the Chapter II prohibition in the Competition Act only. Article 102 of the TFEU has ceased to apply).