NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus’s Competition Regulator said yesterday it has opened an inquiry into business practices of electricity operator EAC after power cuts on Wednesday triggered by a strike. Workers at EAC, the sole electricity provider, held a work stoppage on Wednesday in a dispute with the government over supply methods for the introduction of liquefied natural gas to the market. Regulators said the move was essentially a denial of service and needed further investigation. The EAC is the dominant energy supplier on the east Mediterranean island. The scheduled strike, in the midst of a heat wave that has killed four people since Sunday, caused sporadic power cuts. «The Competition Commission cannot remain indifferent to this situation, particularly when there is no alternative provider,» the commission’s chairman, George Christofides, told Reuters. The EAC has locked horns with the Commerce Ministry over delivery methods for the introduction of liquefied natural gas to the market by 2009. The government plans to open tenders later this year for the creation of storage units offshore, but the EAC has criticized those plans as a waste of money. The operator says onshore units are a better option. Onshore units, the government responds, will take longer to create with the potential of overshooting Cyprus’s commitment to the EU to switch to cleaner forms of energy by 2009. The EAC now runs the island’s fuel-fired power stations and has said it wants to maintain a key role in the LNG market too. Authorities have issued generation licenses to six other companies, but none have commenced operations.