Oxera logo

Oxera helps National Grid achieve settlement in five-year gas-insulated switchgear litigation case

Dr Helen Jenkins and Robin Noble, both partners at economics consultancy Oxera, played key roles as experts in a five-year litigation case which settled this month.

Acting for National Grid, against four defendants—Alstom, ABB, Siemens and Areva—Oxera helped National Grid seek damages following a European Commission finding of a breach of Article 101 TFEU regarding the supply of gas-insulated switchgear.

The cartel between switchgear manufacturers was discovered in 2004. Switchgear is used in high voltage electrical substations to control the power network. National Grid began litigation to recover damages in 2008 shortly after publication of the European Commission’s formal decision. National Grid was seeking over £108m in overcharges, plus interest.[1]

Oxera played a significant part at all stages of the case. In 2013 Oxera helped National Grid gain access to data from the defendants regarding switchgear projects in the USA in order that these could be used for a cross-country analysis to calculate the cartel overcharge.[2]

Oxera played a significant part in achieving the final settlement for National Grid, by preparing expert reports calculating a) how much had been spent on switchgear during the cartel period 1988 to 2004, b) the size of the overcharge, c) the extent to which the overcharge had been passed on to electricity consumers in the form of higher charges, and d) interest payable. The case was due to go to trial in June 2014, but settled a few days before the opening statements were made.


[1] See the Particulars of Claim filed with the England and Wales High Court, reference HC08C03243. See also Mlex (2008), ‘National Grid seeks GBP108mln damages from switchgear cartel in English court’, December.

[2] See Mlex (2013), ‘UK’s National Grid seeks North American data in cartel damage claim’, March.