How is Swisscom prepared for power cuts?

Swisscom's primary goal is to maintain the quality of important voice and data services despite a potential power shortage situation. However, in order to ensure telecommunication services in the short term during certain phases of the power shortage situation, further measures are necessary on the part of the operators, but also on the part of the authorities.




Power shortage

An electricity shortage occurs when the demand for electricity exceeds the available supply over a longer period of time.




Measures taken by the authorities in the event of a power shortage


In the event of a prolonged power shortage, the OSTRAL (Organisation for Electricity Supply in Extraordinary Situations) will implement the measures ordered by the Federal Council in several escalation stages.

In the first instance, the supply situation is monitored in detail. If necessary, appeals are then made to consumers to save electricity on a voluntary basis.

If these measures are not sufficient to bring production and consumption into the necessary balance, further steps can include electricity quotas and even cyclical grid shutdowns.




Impact on Swisscom


Swisscom is also affected by a quota system. Swisscom is in talks with the Federal Office for National Economic Supply (FONES) and OSTRAL in order to obtain an exemption from the quota system due to its systemic relevance.



How long can Swisscom bridge a power cut?

Thanks to its electricity-autonomous design, the Swisscom network can guarantee the availability of fixed and mobile services to all its end customers for at least one hour in the event of a nationwide power cut (blackout).


  • If the power interruption lasts longer than one hour, fixed network services are guaranteed for all end customers who have a direct link to Swisscom headquarters. In this case, however, the mobile radio antennas have a power autonomy of at least one hour, which would result in an interruption of mobile radio connectivity.


  • If the power failure lasts longer than 4 hours, there is no connection in the access network. However, the core network (backbone offices) and the services (data centres) have a power autonomy of at least 72 hours.





Emergency concept Swisscom central offices - What does this mean for you as a Wholesale surface customer?


Swisscom provides the power supply with 48VDC in the Swisscom central offices.


With 48VDC, Swisscom can maintain operations for 4 hours in the event of a power cut thanks to its power-autonomous design (batteries) in the central offices. If the interruption lasts longer than 4 hours, Swisscom can use one of around 65 mobile emergency power generators and thus also bridge a longer power interruption regionally.




Power autonomy

How is Swisscom preparing for a possible power shortage in winter 2022/23?

At the end of September 2022, Swisscom decided to take measures that can be implemented quickly in a first phase, which will affect its office buildings and shops in particular.


At November, the interior and exterior lighting in all shops and office buildings were gradually reduced as far as possible in the evening and at night. Swisscom also reduces the room temperature in all buildings to a maximum of 20 degrees Celsius and informs its employees and customers about simple and efficient electricity-saving measures.

Other measures, such as the temporary closure of office locations or energy-saving adjustments in the network and IT infrastructure, are also under consideration.


What is Swisscom doing in general to reduce energy consumption?


Electricity accounts for the largest share of Swisscom's total energy consumption at 87%. For years, Swisscom has focused on improving its energy efficiency - in the past six years alone, Swisscom has been able to increase its energy efficiency by 45% and thus avoid an additional electricity demand of around 90 GWh. For example, we have been operating the entire network with 100% renewable energy from hydropower, sun and wind for over ten years. We are continuously committed to improving energy efficiency with various measures, including:



Modernisation of the networks and use of modern equipment


Despite constant network expansion in both the broadband and mobile networks, electricity consumption was practically stabilised. On the one hand, this was due to the use of new, more efficient technologies and the consistent implementation of further efficiency measures such as the modernisation of network components, but also to the dismantling of obsolete platforms and network elements.

Swisscom replaces oversized and energy-intensive cooling systems and air conditioning units wherever possible with environmentally friendly and cost-effective ventilation systems that are cooled by outside air and operate without a compressor or coolant.


Savings in buildings

We continuously monitor and improve electricity consumption in buildings. The corresponding checks help to detect cases of above-average energy consumption and to optimise the operating conditions of buildings.


Use of waste heat

We use the waste heat from the IT infrastructures in the operating rooms or from data centres to heat our offices or neighbouring settlements by supplying the waste heat to district heating networks.


Generation of own solar power

We generate and use our own electricity from photovoltaic systems on our transmitter stations, base stations and telephone exchanges. We produce around 3 GWh of electricity with our 87 own solar power systems, which corresponds to the electricity consumption of around 800 Swiss households. Further expansion projects are planned.



Further information on Swisscom sustainability