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Security of Supply

We want to provide our customers with a reliable and affordable supply of electricity and gas at all times. Our programme of continuous investment in maintaining, expanding and developing our distribution grids and generating plants is directed towards this objective. Our generation mix of renewable-based and fossil-fired power stations helps us to minimise procurement risks. We diversify the procurement of our fuels as far as possible.

The reliable supply of electricity and gas to our customers depends firstly on generation and provision of electricity and gas, and secondly on transmission and distribution. The big challenges currently confronting the electricity industry are in the areas of grids for transmission and distribution. They have resulted from the energy transition and the expansion of renewable energies. Whereas feed-in of electricity from renewable energies into the electricity grid takes precedence over other forms of generation, the supply of electricity undergoes significant fluctuation as a result of the prevailing weather conditions. However, since we are a grid operator, we have to guarantee a secure supply of electricity even under adverse weather conditions.

We operate electricity distribution grids in Germany, Poland and Hungary with a total length of 405,347 km, and a grid of 343,750 km makes us the biggest operator of distribution grids in Germany. We therefore play a major role in providing a secure supply of electricity. We also operate 37,050 km of gas distribution grids in Germany and 49,500 km in the Czech Republic. We operate a gas transmission grid that is 3,600 km in length in the Czech Republic, which is currently up for sale.

Video showing repair of power lines from the air (only German)

Challenge and expectations of our stakeholders

Our stakeholders expect us to play a proactive role in structuring the energy transition. This also includes safeguarding the maintenance of grid stability by using innovative grid technology and intelligent grid management (see also Energy Efficiency and Innovation), and making a contribution to reliable electricity generation from fossil and renewable energy sources. Hard-coal and gas-fired power stations that can be deployed flexibly (Climate Protection) can be used to mitigate the fluctuating feed-in from renewable energies and they are an essential prerequisite for uninterrupted electricity supply. Ultimately, we need to take measures to cover the eventuality that there are widespread outages in the power supply despite all our efforts. Power stations therefore have to be used which have their own supply source for energy – these are known as power plants with ‘cold start-up’ capability.



We are comittedKPITarget
… to supplying our customers with the electricity to meet their needs at all times.System Availability Interruption Duration Indicator (SAIDI) in minutes per year and customerSAIDI < 25 min./customer (Germany only)

Target Attainment

In 2011, we were able to continue our record of previous years and provide our customers with a largely uninterrupted supply of gas and electricity; data for 2012 were not available at the time when this report went to press. Non-availability in our distribution grid amounted to an average of 18.1 minutes for each customer in Germany (2010: 21.9 minutes). We also succeeded in guaranteeing a largely uninterrupted power supply from the grid operators of the RWE Group in Eastern Europe, even though non-availability was above the values for Germany owing to the national grid structure. Average non-availability in Hungary from 2010 to 2012 was 62.9 minutes (ELMŰ) and 85.2 minutes (ÉMÁSZ). This means that both figures are significantly below the national average. The average non-availability for the gas supply resulting from faults in Germany amounted to 1.3 minutes per customer and year in 2011.

Overview of the most important facts:


min/customer non-availability of the distribution grid each year

87 %

availability of the German power station portfolio


km GAZELLE gas pipeline completed at the end of 2012


years of oil production in the Wadden Sea

70 %

underground cabling in the distribution grid