On May 27, 2020, the ICA opened an investigation pursuant to Article 102 TFEU into the conduct of Italgas Reti S.p.A. (“Italgas”), a fully-owned subsidiary of Italgas S.p.A.[1] The supply of gas distribution services in Italy is organized by areas comprising small groups of municipalities, called ‘minimum territorial areas’ (“ATEM”s).[2] In the ICA’s view, Italgas abused the dominant position it holds in the Venice ATEM market, comprising eight municipalities, in which it is currently the exclusive licensee of the gas distribution services in four municipalities (including Venice).

The Municipality of Venice reported to the ICA that, since July 2019, Italgas refused to provide updated and detailed information regarding certain steel pipes of the gas distribution network that were built before the liberalization of the distribution services and that belong to the Municipality itself. According to the complaint, this information is crucial in order to enable the Municipality of Venice, as the contracting authority for the whole ATEM, to draw up the tender documents for the award of the distribution license in the upcoming years.

In its preliminary assessment, the ICA considered that Italgas may have abused its market power by delaying the launch of a competitive tender aimed at selecting the licensee of the gas distribution services in the ATEM. Such delay allows Italgas to continue to operate the service in the municipality of Venice and in the other municipalities included in the Venice ATEM. The ICA should complete its investigation by May 31, 2021.

[1]              ICA’s Decision of May 27, 2020, No.28249, Case A540 – Condotte abusive Italgas/ATEM Venezia 1.

[2]              In Italian, Ambiti Territoriali Minimi.