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AFCA files application to fine two companies engaged in energy submetering

Following its investigations into submetering, the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (AFCA) filed another application with the Cartel Court on 16 March 2023 to impose a fine on two additional companies for having infringed national cartel law as well as European competition law. The application is driected against Meßtechnik Gesellschaft m.b.H. & Co KG Energieverrechnung-Contracting-Facility Management and Meßtechnik FMB GmbH Funk- und M-Bus-Technologie.

In July 2019, the AFCA conducted dawn raids at several companies engaged in the submetering industry. Meetings of an industry association had allegedly been used to discuss and agree on market parameters. AFCA’s investigations confirmed that anti-competitive conduct had occurred.

Submetering refers to the individual measuring and billing of costs for heating and hot and cold water in buildings for private or commercial use (residential buildings, office buildings etc.) including the provision of the requisite meters, i.e. heat cost allocators, hot and cold water meters, and heat meters.

In AFCA’s application to the Cartel Court, the companies are accused of having engaged in anti-competitive conduct on the submetering market in Austria, with the imposition of an appropriate fine being requested.

The AFCA has previously already brought two applications in this context: in relation to the Tyrolean company Techem Messtechnik GmbH (“Techem”) and the company ista Österreich GmbH (“ista”). Techem was the first company to apply for leniency, subsequently extensively cooperating and enabling the Authority to fully clarify the facts of the case. The AFCA therefore did not request a fine, only applying to the Cartel Court to find an infringement (see AFCA’s press release of 26 July 2022). With regard to ista, the AFCA applied for the imposition of a reduced fine of EUR 2.2 million due to the company having fully cooperated under the leniency programme (see AFCA’s press release of 22 June 2022).