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Association agreement and gas market legislation

Switzerland has had a provision for third-party access to the high-pressure network (pressure over 5 bar) since the mid-60s in Article 13 of its Federal Pipelines Act. This provision requires high-pressure network operators to provide transmission for third parties if transmission is technically possible and economically feasible and if the third party offers reasonable payment.

Switzerland took the first step towards deregulating its natural gas market when an association agreement was reached between the gas industry and major industrial clients in 2012. Specific clients may apply for network access and therefore have the option of choosing their own supplier. In return, they recognise the industry standards for determining network fees and the general network use conditions. The Federal Office of Energy oversaw negotiations. The Swiss natural gas industry is currently discussing further development of the association agreement while maintaining contact with industry and federal authorities.