Now the Swiss companies are being reined in

Industry should use less electricity. (Image: Rob Lambert / unsplash)

Swiss companies have to tighten their belts when it comes to electricity consumption. The head of the electricity supervisory authority gives surprising reasons for this.

The President of the Federal Electricity Commission (Elcom), Werner Luginbühl, has brought power cuts at companies into the discussion about power-saving measures. «Something that is being examined at the moment is the shutdown of companies,» he said in an interview with the «NZZ am Sonntag». It is about large consumers who would be willing to reduce their production for some time to save electricity, he said.

Although private households also have to reduce their electricity consumption, the most effective tool for saving electricity is in the hands of companies, explained the Elcom boss.

Deaf ears to politics

The fact that Switzerland slipped into such a situation has mainly to do with three reasons: Firstly, for too long politicians took the warnings of power shortages in winter too little seriously, criticized Luginbühl. The 64-year-old went on to say that the Ukraine war had only shown that the problems were more acute.

President of the independent state regulatory authority in the electricity sector (Elcom), former member of the Council of Cantons, Werner Luginbühl (Image: Media Service/Elcom)

Secondly, the bottlenecks are related to the shutdown of the Mühleberg nuclear power plant. «It has been taken off the grid for economic reasons. We can no longer change that,» said the energy expert. But Switzerland knows today that it is problematic to take production capacities off the grid before the replacement is clearly regulated, he explained with regards to this. The Elcom boss pointed out the difficulties: although renewable energies had been added in to the order of magnitude of Mühleberg’s output, too-little focus had been placed on the winter.

Water scarcity as a hurdle

And thirdly, the severe drought in Switzerland is contributing to the uncertain electricity situation in Europe. Reservoir operators have had to hold back a certain amount of water as an emergency reserve for the winter for the first time this year. «We will probably not have the same level of water in our reservoirs at the end of autumn as in other years. The drought also exacerbates the problem,» said former member of the Council of Cantons Luginbühl in that regard.

Power cuts generally depended on many factors. However, it is impossible to make a reliable forecast for this. «The Federal Office of Energy, Swissgrid, Elcom and other bodies are working flat out to ensure that it doesn’t come to that,» he emphasized. However, ‘additional savings measures will definitely be needed and the greatest savings potential does not lie in switching off devices or taking shorter showers with private individuals, but with companies,’  the Elcom boss warned on ‘NZZ am Sonntag’.


Now the Swiss companies are being reined in

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