Ecuador: Regulation On The Control Of Monopolistic Practices In The Electric Sector

Last Updated: 3 January 2002
Article by Agustin Hurtado

Legal Report No.12, 2001

Reglamento Sobre El Control De Abusos De Posiciones Monopolicas En Las Actividades Del Sector Electrico (en Español)

Presidential Decree No. 1822/Official Gazette No. 408 of September 10, 2001

 

The object of this Regulation is to deter the abuse of monopolistic practices that are detrimental to competition in electrical power generation and that alter the unrestricted access to power transmission or distribution, or due to a concentration of power, in general, affect the interests of consumers and the public at large, through the control of electrical power distribution companies.

SPLIT-UP AND MERGER OF DISTRIBUTION COMPANIES: These companies can be split-up or merged so long as CONECEL gives its authorization. In case of a split-up, the new company cannot be organized when its invoicing is less than six hundred (600) kWh of power supplied to end users each year. In mergers, a new company cannot be created when its invoicing is over forty-nine percent (49%) of the total of power invoiced to the domestic market.

FIELD OF ACTION: No power company or group of power companies joined horizontally can control over 25% of installed electrical power on a national level or simultaneously control the markets of Quito and Guayaquil.

COMPANIES ORGANIZED WITH STATE ASSETS: These are generation and transmission companies organized under the Electrical Sector Regime Law with equipment, facilities and other assets owned by INECEL.

Generation Companies: Generation companies organized with State Assets can be under the corporate control of related companies so long as they do not exceed the percentages established in the Electrical Sector Regime Law.

Distribution Companies: Companies holding the majority of shares in distribution stock corporations or that have obtained a distribution concession cannot purchase the majority of stock in generation companies organized with State assets unless such companies are economically independent.

POWER PURCHASE/SALE: Large-scale consumers are free to purchase the power needed by a generator. Purchases of electricity to cover the demand of the regulated market of distribution companies must follow the procedures that ensure free competition of suppliers. For this purpose, distribution companies call public bids for power purchases/sales to give an opportunity in equal conditions to generators with concessions, permits or licenses, granted in accordance with the Electric Sector Regime Law, for the presentation of tenders. Tenders will be evaluated based on the price of the same point of delivery for purposes of comparison and if the tender prices of several offers are the same, the distribution company will purchase power from the bidders in proportion to the quantity offered by each one, although the amount can be less.

 

CONTROL OF ABUSE OF MONOPOLISTIC PRACTICES

Control of Restricted Competition: Concessionaires and holders of permits and licenses are not allowed to execute any type of association, contract, agreement or arrangement with other concessionaires or other participants in the sale of electrical power in the wholesale electric market that could have a direct or indirect effect in the creation of competition restraints.

Control of Predatory Practices: It is the obligation of the Executive Director of CONELEC to prevent and monitor predatory practices and to impose the penalties on first-time offenders of anti-competitive, monopolistic or discriminatory behaviors among the participants of the electric sector in accordance with the laws, regulations and other applicable rules.

Discrimination Control: CONELEC, at its own initiative or at the request of a party, will require market agents to furnish the information needed to allow for a verification of their compliance of the legal and regulatory rules to deter discriminatory practices. In case discriminatory behavior is detected when reviewing the documentation, equal treatment will be demanded for anyone in similar conditions, besides the liabilities established in their concession contracts.

Control of Abuse in Regulated Exclusivity Positions: Distribution companies cannot bar other natural or juridical persons from developing programs or projects for Decentralized Rural Electrification in areas far from the distribution network so long as such programs or projects are not be developed by the distribution company for four years from the date of approval of CONELEC and from the time the distributor becomes knowledgeable thereof.

Claim Procedures: Consumers, generation, transmission or distribution companies and any other agent can file with the Executive Director of CONELEC a duly documented claim when they believe to have sustained discriminatory behavior or abuse from a dominant position. After receiving the arguments from the parties, the Executive Director of CONELEC will impose a penalty on first-time offenses of anti-competitive, discriminatory or monopolistic practices, in accordance with the law and their concession contract. Resolutions by the Executive Director can be appealed before the Board of Directors of CONELEC while CONELEC’S resolutions can be disputed before the courts with jurisdiction.

Court Actions: It is the duty of CONELEC to start court, civil or criminal actions, including precautionary measures, to ensure the compliance of this regulation.

Finally, please bear in mind that the information provided in this Legal Report is merely a brief summary of the legal matters analyzed. Changes in legislation or regulations may broaden or simplify applications of the norms therein. Our Legal Report may not be construed as legal advice but simply as information for our clients. Should you have any doubts or wish to make specific inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Reglamento Sobre El Control De Abusos De Posiciones Monopolicas En Las Actividades Del Sector Electrico

Informe Legal No.12, 2001

Decreto Ejecutivo No. 1822 / R.O. No. 408 de Septiembre 10, 2001

La presente reglamentación tiene por objeto evitar el abuso de posiciones monopólicas que vayan en desmedro de la competencia en la actividad de generación y que afecten el libre acceso a la transmisión y distribución o en general afecte a los intereses de los consumidores y la colectividad por efecto de una concentración de poder por medio del control de las empresas de distribución de electricidad.

ESCISION Y FUSION DE LAS EMPRESAS DE DISTRIBUCION: Estas Empresas podrán escindirse o fusionarse previa autorización del CONECEL. En caso de escisión no podrán crear una empresa cuya facturación sea menor de seiscientos (600) GWh anuales de energía a sus usuarios finales y para el caso de fusión no se podrá conformar empresas cuya facturación supere el cuarenta y nueve por ciento (49%) del total de la energía facturada en el mercado nacional.

CAMPO DE ACCION: Ninguna empresa o grupo de empresas de generación integradas horizontalmente podrán controlar más del 25% de la potencia eléctrica instalada a escala nacional, así como tampoco podrá la empresa o grupo de empresas de distribución integradas horizontalmente controlar simultáneamente los mercados de Quito y Guayaquil.

COMPAÑIAS CONSTITUIDAS CON ACTIVOS DEL ESTADO: Se consideran como tales, a aquellas compañías de generación y transmisión conformadas de acuerdo a la Ley de Régimen del Sector Eléctrico con la incorporación de los equipos, instalaciones y demás activos que hayan sido de propiedad del INECEL.

Empresas Generadoras.- Las empresas de generación constituidas con activos del Estado podrán estar bajo el control societario de empresas relacionadas siempre que no superen los porcentajes establecidos en la Ley de Régimen del Sector Eléctrico.

Empresas Distribuidoras.- Las compañías que adquieran la mayoría de acciones en las sociedades anónimas de distribución o que hayan obtenido una concesión para la distribución no podrán comprar la mayoría de acciones en las compañías de generación constituidas con activos del Estado a no ser que mantengan separación económica.

COMPRAVENTA DE ENERGIA: Los grandes consumidores tienen libertad de comprar la energía que demanden a cualquier generador. Las compras de electricidad destinadas a cubrir la demanda del mercado regulado de las empresas distribuidoras, deben realizarse siguiendo procedimientos que aseguren la libre competencia de oferentes para lo cual las empresas distribuidoras convocarán a concursos públicos para la compraventa de energía para dar oportunidad en igualdad de condiciones a los generadores que tengan concesión, permiso o licencia otorgado de acuerdo a la Ley de Régimen del Sector Eléctrico para que presenten ofertas las cuales deberán ser evaluadas con base en el precio en un mismo punto de entrega a efectos de comparación y si los precios de oferta de varias propuestas son iguales, la empresa distribuidora deberá comprar la energía a tales oferentes en proporción a la cantidad ofertada por cada uno, sin perjuicio de que la cantidad sea menor.

CONTROL DEL ABUSO DE POSICIONES MONOPOLICAS

Control a la Restricción de la Competencia.- A los concesionarios y a los titulares de permisos y licencias les está prohibido celebrar cualquier tipo de asociación, contrato, convenio o acuerdo con otros concesionarios u otros participantes en la venta de energía eléctrica en el mercado eléctrico mayorista que pueda tener como efecto, ya sea directa o indirectamente, la creación de restricciones en la competencia.

Control de Prácticas Predatorias.- Será responsabilidad del Director Ejecutivo del CONELEC, la prevención, el control e imponer las sanciones, en primera instancia, de las conductas anticompetitivas, monopólicas o discriminatorias entre los participantes del sector eléctrico de conformidad con las leyes, reglamentos y más normas aplicables.

Control de la Discriminación.- El CONELEC, de oficio o a solicitud de parte, requerirá a los agentes del mercado la información necesaria que permita verificar el cumplimiento por parte de dichos agentes de las normas legales y reglamentarias que impidan el ejercido de prácticas discriminatorias. En caso de que al revisar tal documentación, se encuentren prácticas discriminatorias, exigirá tratamientos iguales a quienes se encuentren en similares condiciones sin perjuicio de las responsabilidades a que hubiere lugar, según lo establecido en los respectivos contratos de concesión.

Control de Abusos de la Posición de Exclusividad Regulada.- Las empresas distribuidoras no podrán impedir que otras personas naturales o jurídicas puedan desarrollar programas o proyectos de Electrificación Rural Descentralizada en zonas alejadas de la red de distribución, siempre y cuando estos programas o proyectos no vayan a ser desarrollados por la empresa distribuidora dentro de los siguientes cuatro años contados a partir de la aprobación del CONELEC y el conocimiento del distribuidor.

Procedimientos de Reclamación.- Los consumidores, las empresas de generación, transmisión o distribución y cualquier otro agente podrán presentar ante el Director Ejecutivo del CONELEC su reclamo debidamente sustentado, en caso de que se considere afectado por una práctica discriminatoria o de abuso de posición dominante.

El Director Ejecutivo del CONELEC, luego de recibir las argumentaciones de las partes, procederá, de ser el caso, a sancionar, en primera instancia, las conductas anticompetitivas discriminatorias o de abuso de situaciones monopólicas, de acuerdo con lo dispuesto en la ley y en los respectivos contratos de concesión. Las resoluciones del Director Ejecutivo podrán ser apeladas ante el Directorio del CONELEC. Las resoluciones de este último podrán ser impugnadas ante los jueces competentes.

Acciones Judiciales.- Le compete al CONELEC iniciar acciones judiciales, civiles o penales, incluyendo medidas cautelares para asegurar el cumplimiento del presente reglamento.

Finalmente, aclaramos que la información proporcionada a través del presente Informe Legal consiste en un breve extracto de los temas legales analizados. Cambios legislativos o reglamentarios podrían modificar la aplicación de las normas referidas. Igualmente nuestro informe legal no implica asesoramiento profesional sino sólo tiene el carácter informativo. Dudas o consultas legales para casos concretos deben ser solicitadas específicamente al Estudio Jurídico Bustamante y Bustamante.

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