Switzerland announces austerity energy plan: What you need to know

Switzerland announces austerity energy plan: What you need to know

At a conference on August 31, the Federal Council announced a detailed plan on how it intends to reduce gas consumption in Switzerland. To help prevent blackouts this winter, the government has launched a new energy austerity campaign called “Energy is scarce. Let’s not waste it.”

Swiss government: every kilowatt-hour saved counts

"Every kilowatt hour counts, whether it's being produced, saved or not wasted. The potential for saving is huge, let's do it!" exclaimed Economic Minister Guy Parmelin. Speaking at the conference, he said that the government, cantons, businesses and the public should be ready to begin saving energy now to prevent a shortage during the winter.

"We don't have any bottlenecks at the moment, the energy supply is working well," assured Energy Minister Simonetta Sommaruga, but admitted that the country had to do everything it can to save energy now while supplies are still available. She said that the new campaign was designed to inform the public about the “often forgotten” things people can do to save power.

Cantonal Energy Director Roberto Schmidt concurred that it was important to act now to save energy, not just in winter when the crisis is expected to hit. “The risk of a power shortage is large and real. Everything we can do now is important," noted Director of the Association of Swiss Electricity Companies, Michael Frank.

The Energy is scarce, Let's not waste it campaign in Switzerland

The "Energy is scarce. Let’s not waste it" (Die Energie ist knapp. Verschwenden wir sie nicht) campaign is the government's first planned step to help reduce power consumption in Switzerland. The public awareness campaign, which has the support of the government, all Swiss cantons and businesses, is designed to encourage residents to reduce energy consumption to the point where there will not be an energy shortage to begin with.

The campaign recommended that people living in Switzerland adhere to the following measures:

  • Lowering the heating temperature in houses and offices
  • Reducing the amount of hot water consumed
  • Taking showers instead of baths
  • Turning off electrical appliances, equipment and lights when not in use instead of leaving them on standby
  • Not using excessive energy through cooking (i.e. using a lid when boiling water)
  • Set appliances to energy-saving settings

The awareness campaign will be advertised across Swiss cities and cantons on billboards, TV channels and ads on mobile phones. Anyone with specific questions, or those wanting some more energy-saving tips, can visit the official website.

Swiss government may be forced into stricter measures

Concluding the conference, Guy Parmelin said that if voluntary austerity measures are not enough, the government will be forced to resort to further action. These measures, which were roughly outlined in a conference last week, would involve strict quotas on energy for businesses, and possible bans on gas usage in some settings. “If a crisis occurs, we have to act. We're preparing for that now," he assured.

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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