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Electricity consumption up 0.6 percent in 2013

Bern, 10.04.2014 - In 2013, electricity consumption in Switzerland rose by 0.6 percent to 53.9 billion kilowatt hours (kWh). Domestic consumption (including losses in transmission and distribution) reached 63.8 billion kWh. Production at Switzerland's power plants rose by 0.4 percent to 68.3 billion kWh, or 66.2 billion after deduction of electricity consumed by storage pumps. The electricity export surplus of 2.4 billion kWh in 2013 was 0.2 billion higher than in 2012, while by contrast the monetary export trade balance in Swiss francs (CHF) fell to CHF 327 million compared with 771 million in 2012.

In 2013, Switzerland's electricity consumption (end consumption after deduction of transmission and distribution losses amounting to 4.5 billion kWh) rose by 0.6 percent to 59.3 billion kWh (2012: 59.0 billion). This figure represents Switzerland's second-highest recorded level of electricity consumption (the highest figure was 59.8 kWh in 2010). The sharpest increase in consumption occurred in the second quarter (+2.2 percent), while the figures for the other quarters only varied slightly in comparison with the respective prior-year periods (-0.2 percent in the first quarter, +0.2 percent in the third quarter, and +0.3 percent in the fourth quarter).

In 2013, the most significant factors influencing electricity consumption were as follows:

  • Development of the economy: Switzerland's gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 2.0 percent in 2013 (source: State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, SECO).
  • Development of the population: According to the "mean population growth" scenario - one of the scenarios defined by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (SFSO) in 2010 - the country's population is increasing by around 0.9 percent per annum. (The SFSO has not yet published any official data relating to the development of the population in 2013).
  • Weather: In 2013, the number of heating degree days rose by 5.8 percent versus 2012 (see enclosed table). Since around 9 percent of electricity is used for heating in Switzerland (according to the analysis of energy consumption by specific use, SFOE/Prognos 2013), this means that electricity consumption also increased.

High level of domestic electricity production

In 2013, Switzerland's electricity production (domestic production before deduction of 2.1 billion kWh consumed by storage pumps) rose by 0.4 percent to 68.3 billion kWh (2012: 68.0 billion). This is the second-highest recorded figure for production after record year 2001. In the two winter quarters, domestic production was higher than in the respective prior-year periods (first quarter, +4.8 percent; fourth quarter, +5.3 percent), while by contrast, less electricity was produced in Switzerland in the two summer quarters than in the corresponding periods in 2012 (second quarter, -3.4 percent; third quarter, -4.1 percent).

Production from hydropower plants (fluvial and storage power plants) was 0.8 percent lower than in the previous year (fluvial power plants, -0.4 percent; storage power plants, -1.2 percent). In the summer, hydropower production fell by 4.1 percent, while in the two winter quarters it rose by 3.6 percent.

Electricity production from Switzerland's five nuclear power plants rose by 2.2 percent to 24.8 billion kWh (2012: 24.3 billion). Here, Leibstadt reached a new record level of production thanks to an increase in capacity. In 2013, the availability rate of Switzerland's nuclear power plants reached 86.1 percent (compared with 84.9 percent in 2012).

Hydropower power plants contributed 57.9 percent to Switzerland's overall electricity production, followed by nuclear power plants (36.4 percent) and conventional thermal and other power plants (5.7 percent).

Export surplus in 2013

With imports totalling 36.2 billion kWh and exports amounting to 38.6 billion kWh, an export surplus of 2.4 billion kWh was attained in 2013 (2012: export surplus of 2.2 billion). In the first and fourth quarters, Switzerland imported 1.7 billion kWh net (2012: 3.3 billion), while in the second and third quarters it exported 4.1 billion kWh net (2012: 5.5 billion).

Revenue from electricity exports amounted to 2,386 million Swiss francs (or 6.22 cents per kWh), while expenditure on electricity imports totalled 2,059 million Swiss francs (or 5.71 cents per kWh). Switzerland's positive foreign trade balance fell by 42.4 percent to 327 million Swiss francs (compared with 771 million in 2012).

Note: As a result of the restructuring process within the electricity industry, for example through mergers of trading departments, balance group figures have been significantly lower since the beginning of 2013, especially with respect to Germany. As a result of this change, the volume of both exports and imports has been reduced considerably, though Switzerland's foreign trade balance is only affected to a minor extent.

Address for enquiries:

Marianne Zünd, head of Communications Section, Swiss Federal Office of Energy, phone no. 031 322 56 75 / 079 763 86 11


Swiss Federal Office of Energy