This project takes the electricity market as an example to examine two core areas of empirical competition policy: the regulation of network based industries and the concentration of companies. Our approach to the question tackles horizontal and vertical concentration in electricity generation and supply.

In recent years, the electricity business has received much attention from the Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) as it has attempted to regulate mergers. The liberalisation of individual electricity markets has played no small part in bringing about the processes of restructuring and concentration which are currently prevalent in the sector. The market is now at a fairly advanced stage of deregulation. In addition, a number of observations have been made of integration activities among market participants. These present a ready opportunity for statistical evaluation. Furthermore, it is relatively easy to isolate the relevant market participants. Cases of concentration of companies can be put into clear categories and are quite homogenous in comparison to those in other markets. At the forefront of the project is the aim of finding out about the institutional market organisation, the different integration strategies pursued by market participants and the way the competition authorities react to concentration processes on the German electricity market (in terms of their decisions to intervene to control mergers).