Senate backs electricity liberalisation

electricity graphic

The Senate has approved in principle government plans to liberalise the electricity market, giving both industrial consumers and private households the freedom to choose their power suppliers.

This content was published on October 4, 2000 - 08:02

Wednesday's debate focused on the pace of opening up the electricity market. Under the proposal, consumers would be able to pick their electricity supplier within six years of the new legislation being passed.

The new law also foresees the establishment of a national network company to ensure that all suppliers have access to the grid.

This would bring Switzerland in line with most industrialised countries.

Switzerland has more than 1,200 electricity utilities. More than 55 per cent of the country's electricity comes from hydroelectric plants, with about 40 per cent generated by nuclear power stations.

The hydroelectric operators stand to lose most if the market is liberalised, and many are demanding compensation.

The Senate voted in favour of financial support for hydroelectric operators to soften the impact. But the idea is opposed both by government and the voters, who last month turned down a proposal to impose a levy on the use of non-renewable energy for a compensation fund.

The Senate's discussions also highlighted the need for swift action to remain competitive on the international markets. But they said measures were needed to ensure that a national network company remains in Swiss hands.

The bill now goes back to the House of Representatives. In March, the house came out in favour of a stage-by-stage liberalisation of the power market, but it voted for a different model to that approved by the Senate.

swissinfo with agencies

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Sort by

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Almost finished... We need to confirm your email address. To complete the subscription process, please click the link in the email we just sent you.

Discover our weekly must-reads for free!

Sign up to get our top stories straight into your mailbox.

The SBC Privacy Policy provides additional information on how your data is processed.