In principle DB's competitors are entitled to the same electricity prices as DB group companies, but it is claimed in practice they end up paying around 25% more. The EC will investigate whether discounts applied by DB result in higher prices for its competitors in the freight and passenger markets.

The EC said in a statement on June 13 that such behaviour, if established, would violate Article 102 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the EU, which prohibits the abuse of a dominant position, and may affect trade or restrict competition.

In March 2011 EC competition inspectors and officials from the German Cartel Office made unannounced visits to DB offices in Berlin, Frankfurt, and Mainz following claims that DB Energy had charged lower rates to DB Schenker than to other freight operators.