European Commission ends obligations imposed on Deutsche Bahn in 2013 for its abuse of dominant position

As a result of unannounced inspections in March 2011, the following year the Commission initiated formal antitrust proceedings against Deutsche Bahn on suspicion of abuse of a dominant market position in violation of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The Commission had concerns that DB Energie’s pricing for traction current would not have allowed equally efficient competing players to operate profitably in the German markets for rail freight and long-distance passenger transport. DB Energie is a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn and at the time of the proceedings it was the only energy provider for traction current in the German market.

In December 2013 the Commission accepted commitments offered by DB Energie that undertook to (i) grant electricity providers access to its network for supplying traction current and (ii) amend its pricing system. The commitments were originally due to apply for five years. However, the Commission decision provided that they could end earlier if in one calendar year over 25% of the total traction current demand of non-Deutsche Bahn railway undertakings would be supplied by alternative energy providers. As this threshold was reached in 2015, the Commission has adopted a decision that ends the legal obligation of Deutsche Bahn to respect the commitments as of 8 April 2016.

A non-confidential version of the decision will be available on the Commission website, under the case number 39678.