Italy’s antitrust tells utilities to stop changes to contracts

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MILAN, Oct 28 (Reuters) – Italy’s antitrust authority has ordered Spanish utility Iberdrola and Germany’s E.ON to re-instate the original electricity and gas contracts they had with customers, it said on Friday.

The watchdog also asked Italian utilities Iren and Dolomiti to stop what it alleged to be “illegitimate notices” regarding changes to the economic conditions of their offers.

The authority, which hadopened an inquiry into the utilities last week, said the companies must report within five days on the steps they had taken to comply with the precautionary measures.

The watchdog last week accused Iren and Dolomiti of making unlawful unilateral changes in the electricity supply price.

Iberdrola and E.ON were challenged over the way they communicated with customers in Italy who were having difficulties paying their bills and who were then offered new contracts on worse terms.

Iren, Iberdrola and Dolomiti had no immediate comment on Friday’s decision.

A spokesperson for E.ON reiterated it was cooperating with the Italian authorities, adding it believed to have acted legitimately and in compliance with current regulations.

(Reporting by Agnieszka Flak in Milan, David Latona in Madrid and Miranda Murray in Berlin, editing by Federico Maccioni and Keith Weir)

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