In March 2018, the OECD/KPC annual sector workshop took place in Jeju, Korea. This year’s event was devoted to the application of competition policy and rules to a very important sector in most societies: the energy sector. This is an industry where the role of competition authorities in many jurisdictions has increased in the last few years as liberalization has taken off throughout the world.
The event focused mostly on enforcement actions but also undertook a wider view, examining the intersection between competition policy and the role of regulations, very important in this market to ensure security of supply, for instance. One of the initial sessions focused on the specific characteristics of the market and its economic functioning, which needs to be clearly understood in order for a competition authority to consider intervening. Specific focus was devoted to the energy sector and its dynamics in Asia, and more specifically to electricity and gas.
For this workshop a wide array of experienced speakers with extensive experience in the sector were made available by the authorities of Korea (KFTC), EU Commission and the CADE (Brazil) as well as from the OECD.
This was an event that allowed participants to explore in depth a sector that has many specificities can be a rather complex one for newer agencies in particular, but that draws attention given how fundamental energy is for modern well functioning societies and economies. Drawing upon some very experienced speakers it was possible to show that, where relevant, this is a sector where competition authorities may intervene effectively.