Zurich asks locals to turn down the heating this winter to fight energy shortage
As Switzerland braces for gas and energy shortages this winter, the city of Zurich has asked its residents to lower the thermostat in their homes by three degrees in order to save energy. According to experts, some cantons may be forced to enact strict quotas to prevent running out of natural gas.
Zurich calls for power saving to conserve energy
Last week, Energy Minister Simonetta Sommaruga admitted that the government could not rule out a power shortage this winter, because of the disruption caused by the war in Ukraine. This led National Councillor Christian Imark to comment that the country may have to rely on “drastic measures” and “hope” to avoid blackouts.
Now, the city and cantonal governments of Zurich have called on homeowners and those who rent houses and apartments in Zurich to heat their houses by three degrees less over the coming winter. For example, instead of setting the thermostat to 23 degrees Celsius, official cantonal advice is to lower the temperature down to 20 degrees, in order to save power.
"If all households were to implement this, it would make a massive difference," said Martin Neukom, the building director for Canton Zurich. He warned that the situation in Ukraine, which has led to a reduction of gas sent to Europe and Switzerland by Russia, will make energy for heating hard to come by.
Blackouts and gas quotas threaten Switzerland this winter
If the call to reduce energy consumption fails, Neukom warned that cantons could start to enact strict gas quotas and shutdowns for local businesses, although private households would be protected at first. However, the emergency energy authority OSTRAL has said that rolling blackouts for homes across the country are a very real possibility this winter, if energy isn't conserved.
Neukom concluded that the only way to prevent energy shortages in the future is for Switzerland to become more self-reliant and focused on greener forms of energy. The cantonal authorities in Zurich confirmed that its primary aim was to increase the use of wind and solar energy for power, so that the threat of an energy shortage never arises again.