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EFTA Court annuls decision ordering recovery of unlawful stated aid

05.04.2024 - Competition, market and regulation

In a decision by the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) in June 2022, it was concluded that Bergen municipality had overcompensated the energy company Eviny for the operation, maintenance, and ownership of streetlight infrastructure. If the government pays more than the normal market price (overcompensation), such payment can be considered illegal state aid.

Oslo Economics conducted economic analyses of the data ESA used in its decision, on behalf of Arntzen de Besche and Thommessen who represented Eviny AS. The decision was based on a conclusion that an excerpt of KOSTRA data regarding streetlight costs in Norway’s ten largest municipalities could indicate that Eviny had received excessive compensation from Bergen municipality, thus constituting state aid. However, Oslo Economics’ analysis demonstrated that this data was unsuitable for drawing such a conclusion.

In March 2024, the EFTA Court overturned ESA’s decision. The ruling clearly states that the data used by ESA was unreliable as evidence and unable to substantiate a conclusion of overcompensation.

The press release of the EFTA Court regarding the judgment can be found here.

Jostein Skaar
Jostein Skaar
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