The Swiss Federal Electricity Supply Act is the most important legal basis for the operations of TSCNET shareholder Swissgrid, the Swiss transmission system operator (TSO). The Swiss Federal Office of Energy began revising this legislative act a few years ago in order to bring it into harmony with the national “Energy Strategy 2050”. Since October 2018, a corresponding consultation procedure on the planned revision of the Electricity Supply Act has been underway. The consultation ends today.
The current revision particularly aims at the full liberalisation of the electricity market and the introduction of a storage reserve. It has stimulated an ongoing debate in Switzerland on the security of supply, which is both necessary and explicitly welcomed by Swissgrid. The TSO also considers that the complete liberalisation of the electricity market will lead to new providers and more innovation, thus having a positive impact on the transmission system and the economy as a whole. In this context, however, it has to be emphasised that liberalisation also places higher demands on efficiency and data quality for the entire electricity sector. Because of this, the availability of timely and reliable data will be crucial for forecasting and monitoring.
With regard to the introduction of a storage reserve, Swissgrid takes a critical stance and generally questions the necessity of a strategic reserve. Reserving existing energy without adding more to the system will not increase supply security. In addition, there are still many open questions about the concrete technical design, but also about the roles and responsibilities in the electricity industry. Swissgrid has the task of operating the grid reliably and efficiently, while the entire electricity industry is responsible for the power supply. Through the activation of a storage reserve, the TSO would indirectly become the last-instance supplier, a role that Swissgrid rejects.