The French energy regulator (CRE) fines Engie SA €80,000 for insider trading
What is it about?
On 25 June 2022, the Dispute Settlement and Sanctions Committee (CoRDiS) of the French energy regulatory authority (CRE) published a sanction decision adopted on May 19, 2022 imposing a fine of €80,000 on Engie SA (Engie), for breaching the prohibition of insider trading under Article 3 of REMIT, the EU Regulation on Wholesale Energy Market Integrity and Transparency.
Under REMIT, using inside information by acquiring/disposing of wholesale energy products to which that information relates, or disclosing inside information to any other person (unless such disclosure is part of the normal exercise of their employment, profession or duties) is prohibited as insider trading.
In the present case, CoRDiS found that on 23 January 2017, in the context of unavailability of two of Engie’s gas fired power plants:
- a member of Engie’s Dispatch team communicated to a member of the Trading Team inside information on the extension of unavailability of the Combigolfe power plant, before disclosure of the inside information to the market (breach of Article 3(1)(b) of REMIT);
- the Trading team used the inside information to enter into five transactions on two hourly products on EPEX SPOT’s French intraday market (breach of Article 3(1)(a) of REMIT).
CoRDiS noted the weakness of Engie’s internal procedures at the time of the event, based exclusively on oral exchanges between the officials of Engie’s Dispatch and Trading teams and aiming at preventing the dissemination of inside information, which could not prevent the occurrence of the infringement.
The sanction decision can be subject to an appeal to the French Conseil d’Etat.
ACER provides guidance to national regulatory authorities (NRAs) on the application of the REMIT regulation.
In 2021, ACER updated its Guidance on REMIT (6th Edition) to anticipate upcoming decisions from NRAs on insider trading. The updated Guidance included a specific chapter on the prohibition of insider trading (Chapter 5).
ACER welcomes this decision against insider trading under REMIT. It is the third REMIT decision by the French regulator in two months, the other ones imposed on EDF and EDFT.