Overhead power cables in Helsinki on 7 September 2022. The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (KKV) has opened an inquiry based on consumer complaints into price hikes introduced by three electricity retailers, reports YLE. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)


THE FINNISH Competition and Consumer Authority (KKV) has opened an inquiry into the price hikes introduced by three electricity suppliers, reports YLE.

The inquiry was opened based on numerous contacts from consumers concerning the price hikes introduced by the three suppliers, GNP Energy, Oomi Energia and Vaasan Sähkö. The suppliers have justified the hikes with increases in their electricity acquisition costs, a claim that is at the heart of the inquiry.

Jukka Kaakkola, a senior specialist at KKV, reminded YLE on Tuesday that the electricity markets act prescribes that electricity contracts can only be amended on genuine grounds.

“We’re talking about whether the increase in the acquisition costs of electricity corresponds with the increase in consumer prices,” he summarised.

The three suppliers differ in terms of operations: GNP Energy is an electricity retailer, Oomi Energia the joint retailer of several electricity producers and Vaasan Sähkö both an electricity producer and retailer. They have all asked their customers to subscribe to price hikes that far exceed the average spot price on the electricity exchange.

“The average price on the electricity exchange hasn’t been tremendously high in the past month, about 15 cents for kilowatt hour. These prices in the range of 30–40 cents – if not more – feel quite substantial in that light,” Kaakkola stated to YLE.

He estimated that the suppliers may have taken advantage of the widespread public debate over electricity prices.

“There has been a lot of talk about price increases in the media, which has given all suppliers the opportunity to raise prices one after another. In a way it has become acceptable,” he explained to the public broadcaster.

Kaakkola added that it is possible that the inquiry will be expanded to encompass other electricity suppliers that have been the subject of consumer complaints. If the price hikes are ruled unlawful, the antitrust authority can take the case to a market court and request that the unlawful practise be prohibited.

Suomen Kuvalehti was the first outlet to write about the inquiry.

YLE on Tuesday wrote that the Energy Authority is looking into the prices of altogether 11 electricity companies, following requests from consumers to investigate what they believe are unreasonably high prices.

All the companies have an obligation to supply electricity in their respective area of operation. The Finnish legislation stipulates that such companies must fulfil the obligation at reasonable prices without defining the term ‘reasonable’.

“We’re asking for an account from the electricity retailers in question and examining what reasonable prices mean. We’ll issue a decision on whether the retailers have acted lawfully or unlawfully,” Antti Paananen, a director at the Energy Authority, said to YLE.

Both inquiries are expected to drag into next year.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT