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Alpiq production companies lodge appeals against ElCom ruling

Alpiq Group production companies today lodged appeals with the Federal Administrative Court against the ruling issued by the Federal Electricity Commission (ElCom) on 6 March 2009. The Federal Administrative Court must now examine individual aspects of the ElCom ruling, and in particular the question of whether the costs for services that support stability in the Swiss electricity grid should be borne by the providers (power plants) or recipients of such services. It is to be hoped that a rapid decision will soon create legal certainty, in the interests of all parties.

Federal Administrative Court ruling will create legal certainty

On 6 March 2009, ElCom ruled on the tariffs for the electricity transmission grid. For all those committed to the reliable supply of electricity in Switzerland, this setting of tariffs is an important step on the path to implementing the partial liberalisation of the Swiss electricity market. Opinions appear to differ with regard to the application and interpretation of certain aspects of this decision. Alpiq has decided to ask the responsible court of appeal, the Federal Administrative Court, to examine certain aspects of the ElCom ruling. Alpiq Group production companies affected by the ruling have therefore lodged appeals to this effect.

The Federal Administrative Court is required in particular to clarify whether the Electricity Supply Act (StromVG) permits a key proportion of the costs for ancillary services (i.e. services aimed at ensuring the stability of the high-voltage grid) to be imputed to power plants with an electrical capacity in excess of 50 MW, or whether these costs should rather be borne by the service recipients, which would more closely reflect the intentions of the Electricity Supply Ordinance.

The decision by ElCom to charge the costs of ancillary services to power plants with more than 50 MW capacity has significant implications for Alpiq. The order of magnitude of the resultant additional costs would be in the high double-digit millions.


Obligation to owners

As a public company listed on the Swiss SIX stock exchange, Alpiq believes it has an obligation to safeguard the interests of its owners. Alpiq hopes for a rapid conclusion to the appeal process, so that this important issue will soon be clarified in the interests of Swiss power provision and all involved parties.