Author: Jacomijn J. van Haersolte-van Hof**
Published: May 1995
Description: On January 3, 1992, the Gerechtshof te Arnhem (Court of Appeal of Arnhem) referred two questions concerning the interpretation of the EEC Treaty to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg for a preliminary ruling under Article 177 of the Treaty. Those questions arose in proceedings between the Municipality of Almelo and a number of local distributors of electric power on the one hand and Energiebedrijf IJsselmij N.V. (hereinafter “IJsselmij”), a regional distributor of electric power, on the other hand.
The local distributors supply electric power to consumers within the municipalities, whereas IJsselmij, the supplier of the distributors, also supplies consumers in rural areas directly. On the basis of an exclusive purchasing provision contained in the general conditions of IJsselmij, local distributors were prohibited from importing electricity. Furthermore, an import ban also applied at the level of producers and regional distributors. Finally, as of January 1, 1985 IJsselmij charged local distributors an equalization supplement, that is to say, a surcharge intended to offset the difference between the higher costs incurred by IJsselmij in distributing electricity to consumers in rural areas and the lower costs incurred by the local distributors in distributing electricity to consumers in urban areas.
*Arbitral & Judicial Decisions
**Loeff Claeys Verbeke, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.