ElCom is Switzerland's independent regulatory authority in the electricity sector. It is responsible for monitoring compliance with the Swiss Federal Electricity Act and the Swiss Federal Energy Act, taking all necessary related decisions and pronouncing rulings where required. ElCom monitors electricity prices and rules as a judicial authority on disputes relating to network access. It also monitors electricity supply security and regulates issues relating to international electricity transmission and trading. ElCom is responsible for ruling on disputes concerning feed-in tariffs and between network operators and independent producers.
In order to perform these duties, ElCom is empowered to request legally binding rulings on disputes, or to pronounce rulings in its official capacity as regulator.
The main duties of ElCom are as follows:
- Supervision of electricity tariffs for end consumers without free market access, as well as for network use remuneration. ElCom may prohibit unjustified electricity price increases, or if tariffs are too high it is empowered to order price reductions. It may also take steps in response to complaints or on its own initiative in its official capacity as regulator.
- Mediation in, and ruling on, disputes associated with free access to the electricity network. With effect from 1 January 2009, large-scale consumers (i.e. those with an annual consumption of at least 100 MWh) have been able to freely choose their electricity supplier. Consumers with an annual consumption below 100 MWh will only be able to gain free access to the electricity market from 2023, providing that full market liberalisation is accepted at the political level.
- Monitoring electricity supply security and the status of the electricity networks.
- Defining the procedures for the allocation of network capacities in the event of congestion in cross-border transmission lines, and co-ordination of its activities with European electricity market regulators.
- Comprehensive supervision of the national grid operator (Swissgrid), now that ownership of the transmission network has been transferred to the latter (separation process).
- Supervision of wholesale electricity trading, following the entry into force of Articles 26a ff of the Electricity Supply Ordinance on 1 July 2013.
- ElCom is responsible for ruling on disputes concerning feed-in tariffs and between network operators and independent producers.