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Market manipulation in the wholesale energy market in connection with imbalances in June 2019

Bundesnetzagentur opens administrative fines proceedings against three market participants

Year of issue 2020
date of issue 2020.09.07

The Bundesnetzagentur has started administrative fines proceedings against three electricity market participants on suspicion of market manipulation.

Administrative fines proceedings due to possible market manipulation

The Bundesnetzagentur has analysed the considerable system imbalances that occurred in June 2019 for evidence of breaches of the prohibition on market manipulation.

Market manipulation occurs when, among other things, a market participant enters into a transaction or issues an order that gives, or is likely to give, false or misleading signals as to the supply of, demand for, or price of wholesale energy products. The authority investigated whether individual market participants had been deliberately selling electricity on the intraday market at very high prices without actually intending to procure or generate the electricity.

Detailed evaluations of over one hundred million pieces of trading and balancing group data from the three days in June 2019 indicated that there were 21 trading situations in which offers were placed that gave false or misleading signals as to the supply of electricity. Administrative fines proceedings have now been initiated against the three market participants involved.

Administrative fines proceedings separate from supervisory proceedings on the upholding of balancing group commitments

In accordance with Regulation (EU) No 1227/2011 on wholesale energy market integrity and transparency (REMIT), the administrative fines proceedings are conducted independently of the five Bundesnetzagentur supervisory proceedings that identified breaches on the part of the respective balance responsible parties of their obligation to properly balance their balancing groups in the same context.

The administrative fines proceedings under REMIT focus on the trading behaviour of the market participants and thus the issue of whether the extreme situation on the three days in June was exploited on the trading side. The supervisory proceedings, by contrast, were concerned with the obligation of balance responsible parties to properly manage their balancing groups.

Background: events in June 2019

Severe imbalances in the German electricity system occurred on three days in June 2019. On these days, the transmission system operators had to make full use of balancing energy for longer periods and take other measures to keep the system stable.

Press release (pdf / 267 KB)