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Committee demands assurances for liberalised electricity market

The House of Representatives Energy Committee generally approved government plans to liberalise the electricity market but demanded financial guarantees to soften the impact on economically weak hydroelectric plants.

This content was published on November 23, 1999 minutes

The House of Representatives Energy Committee generally approved government plans to liberalise the electricity market but demanded financial guarantees to soften the impact on economically weak hydroelectric plants.

With 14 against 8 votes, the committee on Tuesday approved plans to complete a full deregulation of electricity production and sales six years after the new law comes into force.

However, the House members demanded guarantees that revenues from a new levy to be raised on non-renewable energy resources will be used to financially support those hydroelectric plants that might suffer from deregulation.

The committee proposed that the expected SFr450 million ($290 million) should be used for loans to those plants that could find themselves in an economic squeeze.

The energy commission further agreed that a liberalised market should immediately benefit small-sized hydroelectric plants and support the production of solar and wind energy.

Following European trends over the past years, the Swiss government has proposed to fully liberalise the domestic electricity market by the year 2007. Under those plans, industry would be the first to profit from a deregulated market.

Even though the first measures of the new law may not take effect as planned in 2001, major retailers such as Migros – which is a key employer in Switzerland – have already succeeded in special low-price contracts with electricity providers.


From staff and wire reports.

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