Iberdrola Appealing Fine for Manipulating Market, CEO Says

  • Spanish regulators said Iberdrola drove up prices in 2013
  • Utility completed purchase of UIL in $3 billion deal

Iberdrola SA, Spain’s largest utility owner, has appealed a 25 million-euro ($27.3 million) fine from the nation’s National Markets and Competition Commission that accused the company of market manipulation in 2013, Chief Executive Offer Jose Ignacio Sanchez Galan said.

The company disputes claims it drove up power prices between Nov. 30 and Dec. 23 of that year, Galan said in an interview Wednesday in New York. He was unaware of the trading activity because it occurred at “a subsidiary of a subsidiary of a subsidiary.” Iberdrola juiced prices by withholding power, the commission said.

“Those days, we were buying, not selling,” Galan said. “We are a producer of wind and hydro. There was a tremendous drop, no wind. If we do not have enough energy to supply our customers, we are forced to buy. So if we are forced to buy, we have no interest to increase the price.”

Iberdrola completed Wednesday its $3 billion purchase of UIL Holdings Corp., a New Haven, Connecticut-based utility owner, and plans to spin off its consolidated U.S. businesses as Avangrid Inc. The new shares are to begin trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange, Galan said.

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