Blackout in Italy: SFOE responds to criticism from Italy and France

Bern, 02.12.2003 - 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 events that gave rise to the blackout on 28 September 2003 have been investigated at both the national and the international levels. Two comprehensive reports on
the incident have been released to date:

1. Interim report of the UCTE dated 27 October 2003.
2. Report prepared by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy at the request of the Federal
Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (25 November

The conclusions cited by the SFOE in its report, namely that discrepancies between
traded volumes and physical current flows were the main cause of the blackout, were
also confirmed by the UCTE. In its report, the SFOE did not point the finger at any particular party, but rather it proposed measures in the interests of supply security both in Switzerland and in its neighbouring countries. Its report was based on documents and information available in Switzerland at the end of October, and on the content of the
UCTE report. The SFOE notified both the Italian and the French energy authorities in
advance about the preparation of this national report.

The SFOE once again wishes to emphasise the necessity for Switzerland‘s active participation and right of co-determination with respect to the structure of the European
electricity market of the future and the allocation of transmission network capacities.

As before, the SFOE is willing to participate in the preparation of a tri-national report, if
possible with the inclusion of an independent party, and to continue working closely
together with the Italian and French authorities.


Swiss Federal Office of Energy

Specialist staff
Last modification 23.02.2006

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