The right to produce hydropower through the exclusive use of public bodies of water is granted in the form of a licence (water usage levy). This means that licence holders are required to pay an annual fee to the issuer of the licence (canton, district, municipality). The cantons specify the amount of the levy within the limits laid down in the applicable federal legislation (Article 76, paragraph 4 of the Federal Constitution).
Parliament has increased the official maximum levy several times since the Federal Act on the Use of Hydropower entered into force on 22 December 1916. In 2015 it was increased to 110 Swiss francs per kilowatt (gross output), and this levy is applicable until the end of 2030. In accordance with Article 49, paragraph 1bis of the above Act, the Federal Council is required to submit a proposal to Parliament in good time concerning the amount of the maximum water usage levy to apply after 2031.