The European Commission said on Monday that it has imposed a 77.1 million euro ($87.4 million) fine on Bulgarian state-owned energy group BEH and its units Bulgartransagaz and Bulgargaz for blocking competitors' access to key gas infrastructure. "For years, Bulgarian natural gas consumers have been denied a choice of suppliers because the BEH group refused to give access to its gas infrastructure to other wholesale gas suppliers. With today's decision, we will promote the development of an open and competitive energy market to the benefit of consumers in Bulgaria, in line with Energy Union objectives," Margrethe Vestager, commissioner in charge of competition policy, said in a statement. The Commission's decision opens the door for all affected entities to seek damages before local courts. Damages awarded will not be deducted from the fine imposed by the Commission.