Electricity consumption in 2019 down by 0.8%

Bern, 17.04.2020 - At 57.2 billion kilowatt hours (kWh), electricity consumption in Switzerland in 2019 was lower than in 2018 (-0.8%). Domestic production (after deduction of electricity consumed by storage pumps) was 67.8 billion kWh. The physical electricity export surplus was 6.3 billion kWh.

Domestic consumption in 2019 lay at 61.5 billion kWh. After deduction of losses occurring in transmission and distribution of 4.3 billion kWh, the actual electricity consumption amounted to 57.2 billion kWh which is 0.8% or 449 million kWh (this corresponds approximately to the annual consumption of 89,800 households) less than in 2018 (57.6 billion kWh). The changes in consumption by quarter in 2019 compared to 2018 were –1.6% (first quarter), +2.0% (second quarter), –1.3% (third quarter), and –1.8% (fourth quarter).

Although significant factors such as the development of the economy and population and the weather (see below) led to increases in consumption, electricity consumption in Switzerland fell slightly. This slight decline may be attributable above all to increased efficiency.

  • Development of the economy: According to the provisional figures, Switzerland's gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 0.9% in 2019 (source: State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, SECO).
  • Development of the population: According to the provisional statistics issued by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (SFSO) on April 9, 2019, the population of Switzerland increased by 0.7% in 2019.
  • Weather: In 2019, the number of heating degree days increased by 6.1% over 2018 (see table in appendix). As about 10% of the electricity consumed in Switzerland is used for heating, such developments in the weather tend to increase consumption slightly.

The annual ex-post analyses of electricity consumption (to be published in October 2020) will provide further information about the main factors influencing electricity consumption.

Domestic electricity production in 2019

Electricity production (domestic) rose by 6.4% to 71.9 billion kWh in 2019 (2018: 67.6 billion kWh). After deduction of 4.1 billion kWh used by storage pumps, net electricity generated amounted to 67.8 billion kWh. In three of the four quarters of the year domestic electricity production was above the values for 2018 (+2.2%, –10.1%, +17.5%, +18.9%).

Hydropower plants (fluvial and storage power plants) generated 8.4% more electricity than in the previous year (fluvial power plants, +4.7%; storage power plants, +11.4%). In the summer of 2019 production at hydropower plants increased by 8.2% compared to 2018 (fluvial power plants +1.5%, storage power plants +14.9%); in the two winter quarters production increased by 8.6% (fluvial power plants +10.5%, storage power plants +7.4%).

Electricity production at Swiss nuclear power plants rose by 3.5% to 25.3 billion kWh (2018: 24.4 billion kWh). This increase was mainly due to the high availability of the Leibstadt nuclear power plant. The availability rate of Switzerland's nuclear power plants in 2019 was 86.9% (2018: 83.9%). On 20 December 2019, after 47 in years in operation, Mühleberg nuclear power plant ceased generating electricity.

Hydropower plants contributed 56.4% to overall electricity production (fluvial power plants 24.6%, storage power plants 31.8%) while nuclear power plants supplied 35.2% and conventional thermal plants and plants using renewable energy generated 8.4%.

Export surplus in 2019

With physical imports of 29.5 billion kWh and physical exports of 35.8 billion kWh, the balance for 2019 was an export surplus of 6.3 billion kWh (2018: export surplus of 1.6 billion kWh). In the first and fourth quarters (winter quarters) Switzerland imported 1.4 billion kWh net (2018: 5.1 billion kWh); in the second and third quarters Switzerland exported 7.7 billion kWh net (2018: 6.7 billion kWh).

According to data from the Federal Customs Administration (FCA) yield from trade-based electricity exports was 1,786 million francs (4.90 cents/kWh). Expenditure of 1,385 million francs (4.57 cents/kWh) was incurred for trade-based electricity imports. This resulted in a positive foreign trade balance of 401 million Swiss francs in 2019 (2018: positive foreign trade balance of 279 million francs) [Source: FCA / swissimpex; as at April 1, 2020].

Address for enquiries

Marianne Zünd, Head of Media and Political Affairs SFOE, 058 462 56 75 / 079 763 86 11


Swiss Federal Office of Energy