The Energy Regulatory Authority (RAE) has accused the Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) of monopolistic practices, high operational costs and exerting pressure to raise its rates for transporting natural gas. RAE President Pantelis Kapros yesterday said that he has been «under pressure» to approve price raises in transport rates. He added that, following European Union rules, he was about to act to prevent DEPA from selling natural gas to customers as well as transporting it, saying that these were separate businesses. DEPA Chairman Aristides Vakirlis said that three other companies are active in natural gas distribution and that gas, in any case, competes against other fuels. This, he said, proved that DEPA is no monopoly. The rift between RAE and DEPA confirms the fears of Gas Natural, the Spanish firm who is the only bidder for a 35 percent stake in DEPA as well as its management. On Tuesday, its president had declared that if the investment in DEPA proved to be risky, it might be a deal-breaker. Vakirlis said that DEPA needs a strategic partner like Gas Natural in order to make inroads into the energy market.