A large part of Switzerland’s energy requirements is met by oil, gas and electricity. Electricity meets around a quarter of the country’s overall energy needs and is vitally important to both the population and the economy. In addition to sufficient domestic production, a functioning power grid and electricity imports are also necessary for ensuring supply.
If production, transmission or import capacity is adversely affected and supply is no longer in line with demand for days, weeks or even months, it can lead to an electricity shortage. This can happen, for example, if the water level in rivers or reservoirs is low, thereby reducing domestic production, and the deficit cannot be covered with additional imports.
In Switzerland, the economic sector is generally responsible for supplying electricity. However, if it is not able to overcome a shortage by its own means, the federal authorities can intervene. In the event of an electricity shortage, the National Economic Supply (NES) is responsible for preparing and implementing management measures.
While electricity shortages are usually the result of a chain of events, a power failure – i.e. a regional or European-wide interruption in the power supply – can occur suddenly and last for minutes or even days. Power failures are mostly caused by technical faults, damage to network infrastructure or an overloading of the grid system. It is the responsibility of the electricity industry to resolve a power failure.
Last modification 28.11.2023