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Competition watchdog fines Sofia utility 450 000 leva for abuse of monopoly

Date: 23.12.2008

Bulgaria's Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) said on December 22 that it fined Sofia utility Toplofikatsiya  450 000 leva for abusing its monopoly position.

The watchdog first fined the utility for illegally cutting off heating in blocks of flats where a wide majority of the consumers had not paid their bills, but some had. CPC ruled that Toplofikatsiya was breaking the law by denying service to those customers that paid their bills on time.

In doing so, the company abused the monopoly it has, because consumers do not have access to alternative providers of central heating heating, CPC said in a statement. The company was in effect blackmailing its customers, but the only ones suffering were those that paid their bills, CPC said.

The second fine was for holding the owners of properties responsible for the bills incurred by the people who rented the property, which was against the law, the regulator said.

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