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E.ON would welcome foreigners in German grid

Germany's E.ON wants foreign companies to be able to join a mooted venture that groups all German power grids, the finance chief of Europe's largest utility was quoted as saying.

“We think it could make sense to bring together companies across borders,” Marcus Schenck told the Boersen-Zeitung business daily in an interview published on Wednesday.

The most important thing was to ensure better links among regional power markets because that would provide the greatest leverage for cross-border competition.

“It would be conceivable that a network operator active in both the Netherlands and Germany, for instance, has more incentive to work on connections between the countries than a purely domestic operator,” he said.

The paper said this suggested E.ON could sell its power network, which it said analysts valued at around €1.8 billion ($2.80 billion), to Dutch network operator TenneT.

RWE, the German utility that runs the country's long-distance power grid, might join such a German power grid venture, its finance chief told Reuters this week.

European utilities are under pressure from governments, the European Union and regulators to open markets and networks, which often are local monopolies, to get more companies to compete for customers and rein in soaring energy prices.

E.ON was the first utility to break ranks with peers and to agree to divest its long-distance, high-voltage power grid in a surprise move in February. (Reuters)