The Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) is astonished by the criticism on the part of the Italian and French energy authorities concerning its report on the blackout in Italy on 28 September 2003. The SFOE passed on all information at its disposal, insofar as this would not interfere with the data protection or business secrets of the network operators concerned. Furthermore, the report by the energy authorities of the two neighbouring countries essentially confirms the findings of the European network operators. The SFOE is not attempting to blame any particular party, it is merely proposing certain measures in the interests of supply security. It is in favour of the preparation of a trinational report on the incident.
The underlying causes of the incident that occurred on 28 September 2003 are the unresolved conflict between the trading interests of the involved countries and operators and the technical and legal requirements for safe and reliable operation of the networks. There is clearly an urgent need for binding regulations such as those foreseen in the new EU ordinance (1228/2003) on cross-border electricity trading, which is due to come into effect on 1 July 2004. It will only be possible to prevent blackouts of the kind that occurred on 28 September if these regulations are implemented in an effective manner throughout Europe. At the request of the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC), the Swiss Federal Office of Energy investigated the incident of 28 September, and in its report it proposes specific measures aimed at enhancing supply security in Switzerland and Europe.
[ Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications ]
The exact course of events and the background to the electricity blackout of last Sunday have yet to be discovered. Before considering the implications -- for crisis management procedures in the electricity supply industry, the responsibilities of the supervisory authorities and collaboration with neighbouring countries -- the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) awaits an explanation of the causes of the grid failure and the reactions of the electricity supply industry. The results are expected within a month.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) submitted the Swiss energy policy to an in-depth review. William Ramsay, Deputy Executive Director of the IEA, Tues-day launched the report on Switzerland in Berne. The IEA welcomes the deci-sions by the Swiss to keep the nuclear option open and to make a new effort to increase efficiency in the energy sector. The agency is in favour of the SwissEnergy programme even if it may not suffice to achieve the country's ambitious climate change target.