One grid for all
Switzerland regulated grid usage in the Electricity Supply Act (StromVG) of 2007. The Act stipulates that the high-voltage grid should be operated by a neutral body. The national grid company Swissgrid guarantees non-discriminatory access to the grid for all companies. Everyone benefits from the same conditions and no-one gains any advantage or suffers any disadvantage from using the grid.
Specialisation in the electricity market
The Act also separated the functions in the electricity market. In the previously monopolised markets, one company often performed several tasks: generation, transmission, distribution, trading and selling were all done under one roof. In the liberalised electricity market, on the other hand, the players focus more on core tasks resulting from the new market and system regulations.
Liberalised electricity market in Europe
Liberalisation creates competition and transparency. A country’s economy benefits from a liberalised electricity market. All of Europe is moving in that direction: the EU countries have gradually opened up their electricity markets and the grid monopolies are being broken up just like in Switzerland. Cross-border competition forces the companies in the electricity market to realign themselves: many companies are already operating on a very international level.
Electricity Supply Act: security for the future
Switzerland wants to open up its electricity market. Parliament approved the new Electricity Supply Act in 2007. Its aims are security of supply, liberalisation of the market and funding for green electricity.
Opening up the electricity market
The new Electricity Supply Act (StromVG) came into force in 2008. It establishes the foundations for the liberalisation of the Swiss electricity market. It will guarantee a secure supply of electricity for Switzerland. Swiss companies and private households will benefit from increased competition and transparency in the electricity market. As the national grid company, Swissgrid was entrusted with the operation of the Swiss high-voltage grid.
Key points of the Electricity Supply Act
Increased security of supply: The main focus is on providing Switzerland with a secure supply of electricity.
Competitive orientation and market liberalisation: In the first phase, the electricity market for large companies with an annual consumption of more than 100,000 kWh will be liberalised. After five years, all Swiss end customers will be able to choose their supplier, unless a referendum is called.
Funding for green electricity and energy efficiency: Funding will be provided for electricity generated using renewable sources like water, sun, wind, biogas, biomass and geothermal energy. There will also be support for improving energy efficiency. 350 million francs a year will be invested. Electricity consumers will pay a supplement of no more than 0.6 Rappen per kWh.
Transfer of the high-voltage grid to Swissgrid: The 220/380 kV transmission system was transferred to the national grid company on January 3, 2013. Since then, Swissgrid is the owner of the 6700 kilometre long high-voltage grid.