The Competition Authority’s 2020 annual report focuses on the activities of the authority in the current anxious situation, when the role of the economic regulator is very important as a background force. Economic activity persists despite the pandemic, and ensuring free competition is in the interests of both consumers and businesses. Very different topics from the authority’s activities of last year deserve to be emphasised.
Price regulation is one of the most relevant areas of activity for the consumers, which affects them directly on a daily basis. In the case of monopolistic services (electricity, heating, gas, water), consumers have no choice. Therefore, the role of the authority as a price regulator is extremely important and focused on consumer protection and efficiency. As a result of years of work, prices are under tight control. District heating prices in larger cities, where most of the heat is consumed, are stable and have fallen rather than risen. The price of water for households in Tallinn fell by 27% after ten years of stagnation. On the electricity market, the monopolistic network service in the last ten years is characterised by stable pricing.
Of the larger analyses carried out, the analysis of the pharmaceutical market should be highlighted, the main conclusion of which is that the current regulation of prices of medicinal products is deficient and its supervision is fragmented. There is a significant risk of non-compliance and consumers are paying more than the fair market price. The authority considers it necessary to establish a clear and seamless price regulation to ensure that medicines are economically accessible to patients.
One of the most difficult cases in the field of control of concentrations was the prevention of a cinema monopoly, where the authority firmly refused to grant permission to concentrate, as the consumer would be the loser in this situation.
The most important topic in the field of energy is the green transformation and the clear objective to reach climate neutrality by 2050. Our energy sector is in the process of transformation to reach this goal. In the context of the new economic environment, security of supply in the transition to green energy is also becoming an issue of increasing importance.
All the above-mentioned topics and other significant cases are described in more detail in the annual report.