For 50Hertz, cost-effectiveness is a prime consideration during grid-extension projects. This means that, as a rule, the most economical construction is planned, which benefits, not least, the electricity consumers.
As a consequence, 50Hertz aims for the "racing line" as shortest route in grid-extension projects. It is to be deviated from only to protect significant goods such as people and nature. Cost-effectiveness is in the interest of all electricity consumers. The German ordinance regulating electricity grid access prices (Stromnetzentgeltverordnung or StromNEV) provides for the costs generated as a result of grid maintenance and extensions to be passed on to consumers in the form of use-of-system charges. For this reason, the construction of overhead lines is to be preferred to underground cabling. Laying buried cables increases construction costs by a factor between 4 and 10. Laying cable in tunnels would raise costs by a factor between 30 and 40.
The Energy Industry Act (EnWG) constitutes an essential basis for grid extension. Its goal is to guarantee the "safest, most economical, consumer-friendly, efficient and environmentally friendly provision of the general public with electricity and gas". Accordingly, transmission system operators are obligated to guarantee non-discriminatory access to their grid for everyone. With the amendment to the EnWG passed in the summer of 2005, Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA) as the regulatory authority for the "grids" commenced its work.