Services

Utility corporations have used investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions found in trade and investment agreements to challenge state attempts to regulate privatized public services such as water, social security or other services.

In response to several governments which have tried to lower public services rates for poorer populations or in face of a significant economic crisis, foreign companies have initiated ISDS disputes, claiming they were treated “unfairly”, due to their loss of profits.

Potentially, any significant reforms of standards in relation to major infrastructure or utilities and associated services could be the target of ISDS.

As of end of June 2015, 6% of all ICSID disputes concerned water services issues.

Most well-known disputes include:

• Azurix (US) v. Argentina: US$165 million awarded in 2006 to the investor, a water company. The dispute arose from the contamination of a reservoir, which made the water undrinkable in the area. The firm claimed the government had expropriated its investment and denied the firm “fair and equitable treatment” by not allowing rate increases and not investing sufficient public funds in the water infrastructure (Argentina-US BIT invoked).

• Tampa Electric Company “TECO” (US) vs. Guatemala: the US-based energy company challenged Guatemala’s decision to lower the electricity rates that a private utility could charge. TECO was awarded US$25 million in 2013 (CAFTA invoked).

• TCW (US) vs. Dominican Republic: the US investment management corporation that jointly owned with the government one of the Dominican Republic’s three electricity distribution firms, sued the government for failing to raise electricity rates and to prevent electricity theft by poor residents. Case settled in 2009 for US$26.5 million paid to the investor (CAFTA invoked).

(November 2015)

Zone Bourse | 5-Feb-2019
Le CIRDI a décidé que la Hongrie devrait verser une indemnité de 73 millions d’euros hors intérêts à Sodexo.
Globe Newswire | 5-Feb-2019
Hungarian State has been ordered to pay Sodexo an award of about 73 million euro, before interest.
SanLuis24 | 15-Jan-2019
El acuerdo comercial entre Argentina y Chile ya fue avalado sin debate por el Senado del vecino país. El Congreso argentino lo había aprobado a fines de año pasado.
Cinco Días | 27-Dec-2018
El Ciadi, la corte de arbitraje internacional que depende del Banco Mundial, ha resuelto que el Estado argentino debe abonar una indemnización de 225,69 millones de dólares (unos 200 millones de euros) más intereses por la resolución anticipada de los contratos de gestión de aguas en la ciudad de Santa Fe.
Noticias Caracol | 20-Dec-2018
El Estado respondió así a la indemnización de 1.626 millones de pesos que exigió la multinacional española por la intervención de la empresa de servicios públicos.
Slovak Spectator | 9-Nov-2018
The German Supreme Court dismissed the original arbitration decision against Slovakia concerning the ban on health-insurance companies’ profits.
Eco Actu | 8-Aug-2018
Le conseil de la commune de Casablanca avait constaté des manquements graves en matière de gestion de la décharge dont les conséquences environnementales et sanitaires sont drastiques.
Diario Uchile | 7-Aug-2018
Los TLC son mucho más que tratados sobre el comercio entre países. En realidad avanzan en la desregulación y liberalización de actividades económicas que antes han estado en manos de los Estados, como los servicios públicos, la educación, la salud, el sistema de pensiones y otros.
Medias24 | 26-Jul-2018
A travers ses sociétés mères, l’ancien gestionnaire délégué de la décharge de Médiouna menace de poursuivre le Maroc devant le CIRDI et lui réclame 75 millions de dollars de dédommagement.
The Guardian | 12-Jul-2018
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s regime accused of illegally seizing company assets and breaching investment treaties involving Britain and other EU states.

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