Companies in regulated sectors, such as energy or telecoms, are finding that the threat of litigation and problematic regulations are keeping them busy.
Las empresas de los sectores regulados como la energía o las telecomunicaciones dedican mucho tiempo a evitar litigios y a lidiar con normativa complicada, afirma Raúl da Veiga, de Gómez Olmo & Da Veiga (GOLD) Abogados.
Energy is one of the most competitive and tightly-regulated markets in Europe. It is little surprise then that companies within the sector are becoming more active in bringing cases against rivals for a host of issues.
“We are finding that commercial disputes involving energy companies are increasing,” says Raúl Da Veiga, name Partner at Madrid-based Gómez Olmo & Da Veiga (GOLD) Abogados. “There have been a number of cases prompted by the impact of new regulation, for instance the rules that electricity distribution companies must give some of their supply output to competitors.”
A recurring issue in energy disputes is however that in most cases: “commercial tribunals lack information about how the sector works,” according to Da Veiga. The situation also requires law firms to adapt their litigation teams to the specialist needs of the client. “Any commercial dispute involving these sectors has a special complexity and demands an in-depth knowledge of specific regulation, which in turn makes the successful resolution of disputes more sophisticated.”
Market behaviour has also changed during the crisis, he adds, with companies now trying to obtain long-term advantage by securing capacity and prices. “With energy prices falling, we see that a lot of companies prefer to face litigation with their current suppliers and try to find a new agreement with better conditions for the future,” he says.
Da Veiga believes however that the energy market in Spain is still hindered by over-regulation. “The Spanish Government has drawn criticism in the past for neglecting ‘free-market’ principles, notably with attempts to prevent the takeover of strategically important companies by foreign competitors.”