The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Zurich energy director wants better control over Axpo

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 9 September 2023

Zurich Energy Director Martin Neukom (Greens) stated on the SRF radio show “Samstagsrundschau” about the upcoming electricity price increase that he wants to involve Axpo more closely in the country’s security of supply.

Zurich energy director wants better control over Axpo
Keystone/SDA©

While costs for households are rising enormously, energy companies are presenting high profits.

The energy group Axpo achieved a record profit of over three billion francs in the first half of 2022/23. The canton of Zurich owns 18 percent of the company. Nevertheless, there will again be no profit distribution for the canton in 2023, Neukom announced. The profit should first stabilize the company. “This is correct,” confirmed the board member of the cantonal energy directors’ conference.

Nevertheless, Neukom responded to political demands. “Giving Axpo a shorter leash” was one of them. In the future, one must be prepared to make decisions that are not necessarily lucrative for the sake of the country’s security of supply. They are working on facilitating Axpo’s direct access to electricity providers; this would ease the price situation somewhat.

Greater incentives for investment

For the coming year, the Federal Electricity Commission calculated that electricity prices would rise by 18 percent. That’s over 200 francs more per year for a traditional household. However, the price of electricity has been very low in recent years, Neukom said. With the price increases and higher profits, it has now become more interesting for corporations to invest.

The fact that the price increases vary between communities is due to the electricity market. Anyone who bought at a “good” time will now benefit. The end consumers, on the other hand, are bound to the prices of the providers in the community where they live.

Liberalizing the electricity market could help. This would allow end consumers to choose their electricity supplier themselves. Neukom was skeptical about this in an interview with SRF. However, liberalization would be a prerequisite for the electricity agreement with the EU – and this in turn is very important for Swiss electricity supply.

Keystone/SDA©

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