Appeal court takes heat off National Grid Ofgem fine

The court of Appeal (CoA) has halved the fine imposed on National Grid by Ofgem, the gas and ­electricity authority.

The watchdog fined National Grid £41.6m after it found the multimillion-pound contracts struck by National Grid with suppliers in 2002 when the metering market was opened to ­competition harmed new entrants’ ability to compete and acted against consumers’ interests.

The Competition Appeal Tribunal upheld the ruling in April last year but reduced the fine by 25 per cent to £30m.

Monckton Chambers’ Jon Turner QC went to the CoA to argue that the tribunal had not adequately ­considered Ofgem’s ­involvement in the process that led to the ­agreements in dispute.
Lord Justices Pill, Dyson and Richards upheld the argument and reduced the fine to £15m, but rejected four other grounds for appeal put forward by National Grid.

Turner was instructed by Pinsent Masons for the appellant. Blackstone Chambers’ Monica Carss-Frisk QC was instructed by Ofgem general counsel Duncan Sinclair.

Christopher Vajda QC, also of Monckton Chambers, was instructed by Hill Hofstetter for the third respondents Siemans.