People in Switzerland told to reduce energy usage as blackouts loom

People in Switzerland told to reduce energy usage as blackouts loom

OSTRAL, the organisation responsible for emergency energy supplies in Switzerland, has said power cuts of four to eight hours will be common in the country in a worst-case scenario this winter. It follows a warning from the government that a gas shortage is likely this year and that people in Switzerland should start to save energy.

Swiss government tells residents to cut power usage

Last Wednesday, the Federal Council announced that they expect gas shortages in Switzerland by the winter of 2022. The council called on residents to use energy sparingly in the coming months.

In its new report, OSTRAL detailed how the country would cope with an energy shortage. In their most probable scenario, “soft measures” would be implemented like "switching off saunas, Jacuzzis, swimming pools, air conditioners, escalators, [and] elevators.”

Blackouts in Swiss cities likely in worst-case scenario

In their worst-case scenario, OSTRAL would enforce a blackout of four to eight hours for some Swiss households. Speaking to Blick, head of OSTRAL Lukas Küng said “these cuts are really possible” and “would involve candle lighting and apartments without heating. Traffic would be at a standstill, with light signals out of order and tunnels closed. Public transport would also be paralysed.”

Only essential services, like hospitals, would be spared from the cuts. “Hospitals have an emergency power supply,” Küng reassured, “But we are doing everything we can to not get to that point this winter.”

Cantons in Switzerland must be prepared for power shortages

“If we all reduce our consumption by 10 to 20 percent, it will be bearable. Everything will still work, pretty much. If partial network cuts occur...relief organisations - police, firefighters, health services - must be ready. We would communicate the location and time of these cuts in a place where everyone can read it,” he noted.

When asked about how well-prepared Swiss cantons are for a power shortage, Küng said some, mainly in French-speaking Switzerland, were ahead of the curve compared with the rest of the country, with many other cantons adopting a far too relaxed attitude to the threat. “By October or November, the cantons will have to be ready,” he warned.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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