The European Commission is hoping that a new set of rules it has proposed will prevent market manipulation and insider trading in Europe’s wholesale energy markets.

The proposed rules are designed to ensure that energy traders do not use inside information to benefit from their transactions or manipulate the market by artificially causing prices to be higher than would be justified by the availability and costs of producing, storing and transporting the energy.

“Our energy markets are interdependent,” said EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger. “Market abuse that takes place in one Member State often affects the prices in another Member State. It is crucial to ensure EU level comprehensive rules which guarantee that citizens can be confident that prices are formed fairly and they can fully benefit from the internal energy market.”

The rules would prohibit the use of inside information when selling or buying at wholesale level, transactions that give false or misleading market signals, and the distribution of false news or rumours.

Market monitoring will be the responsibility of the new European Agency for the Co-operation of Energy Regulators (ACER). Penalties for market abuse would be enforced by national regulatory authorities in Member States.