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Alpiq in: Europe

Liberalisation of the electricity market – at the customer's service

An increasing number of unbound customers are making use of this possibility: In 2017, the large-scale consumers will procure 79 percent of their energy on the free market (source: ElCom). The Electricity Supply Act initially required the electricity market to be fully liberalised from 2014, provided this was sanctioned by Swiss voters in a referendum. This would have given every customer the freedom to choose their electricity provider.

The Electricity Supply Act initially required the electricity market to be fully liberalised from 2014, provided this was sanctioned by Swiss voters in a referendum. This would have given every customer the freedom to choose their electricity provider. On 4 May 2016, while making a reference to the controversial responses during the consultation process, the Federal Council decided to postpone the second phase of the energy market liberalisation. Although the Federal Council is convinced that a full market liberalisation should still be pursued, it argues that it would be advisable to await the results of the current proceedings regarding the Energy Strategy 2050 and to continue to monitor the market environment.

Alpiq’s preferred model of a liberal, undistorted electricity market that is integrated into the European market has receded into the distance. In practice, unilateral national measures delay the continued integration, subventions for individual generation technologies have caused market distortions, and the incorrect parametrisation of the EU emissions trading system do not permit price signals for carbon-free technologies.

In Alpiq’s view, it would hence not be expedient to implement the full liberalisation of the Swiss electricity market within the current environment as an isolated measure, without simultaneously eliminating other factors that have a distorting effect on competition. In concrete terms, this means that first a political consensus must be reached in Switzerland regarding what power station portfolio is necessary and desirable to ensure Switzerland’s supply. Additionally, sufficient resources must be available to achieve this condition. Furthermore, a full integration into the European electricity market should be pursued, whereby the further harmonisation of the EU market should be driven forward. There is no room for unilateral national measures, in particular with regard to the capacity markets, or alternatively, these markets should be accessible across borders without discrimination.

So patience is the watchword until electricity market liberalisation becomes a reality. Yet this does not stop us from offering customised, tailor-made solutions even now, or from abiding by our commitment to the liberalisation of the electricity market.