Shortage of electricity: The Federal Council provides for these measures

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contingency plan

18 degrees in rooms, no tumbler and no Netflix – this is how the Federal Council wants to prevent a blackout if necessary

Heating up to a maximum of 18 degrees, electricity quotas for large companies and no more Netflix and games: the Federal Council wants to use these measures to survive a power shortage in winter.

If the austerity appeals are not fruitful in the event of a power shortage, the Federal Council can also issue bans. (icon picture)

key stone

For months, Switzerland has been preparing for a power shortage in winter. On Wednesday, the Federal Council presented the long-awaited emergency plan in the event that there is a shortage of electricity in this country. Affected stakeholders have until December 12 to comment on the proposals. As with the gas emergency plan presented last week, the Federal Council has chosen a multi-stage approach.

In the event of an imminent shortage, the federal government first sends urgent austerity appeals to all electricity consumers. At the same time, the Federal Council can already issue initial usage restrictions and bans. They take place in three escalation steps – starting with comfort restrictions through to drastic measures such as company closures. After that, the electricity for large companies can be allocated. As a last resort, the federal government resorted to the last resort and ordered grid shutdowns to prevent a blackout.

Reduce speed on freeways and limit lights

In addition, the Federal Council provides, for example, that the electric lighting of public streets and squares be restricted. Systems, devices and light sources that are not absolutely necessary should be disconnected from the mains. The general maximum speed on motorways is also to be limited to 100 km/h.

The aim of the interventions is to maintain grid stability and thus the power supply. “Each stage of measures aims to avoid worse consequences and tougher measures,” argues the Federal Council. He drew up the plan in cooperation with business and the cantons in order to keep the economic damage as low as possible.

These are the specific suggestions:

escalation step 1

  • Households are allowed to Laundry wash with a maximum of 40 degrees water temperature. Commercially used Tumble dryer, iron and mangle can be operated daily for a maximum of 12 hours. There are no restrictions for hospitals, retirement and nursing homes, for example.
  • Publicly accessible spaces, which are mainly heated by electrical energy, may be heated to a maximum of 20 degrees. There are exceptions, for example, for wellness areas and rooms in healthcare institutions where patients are treated.
  • Warming displays or warming drawers in retail must not be operated with temperatures above 65 degrees. beverage cooler on the other hand, must not be cooled below 9 degrees – except for perishable beverages. For private and commercial refrigerators With exceptions, a minimum temperature of 6 degrees applies. the Refrigeration and freezer furniture must not be cooled below -20 degrees.
  • the lighting for advertising purposes is prohibited between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • There are also numerous prohibitions: With some exceptions, the operation of mobile heaters, patio heaters, whirlpools, saunas, steam baths, outdoor and spotlight lighting, lighting of parking lots and multi-storey car parks outside of opening times and of empty rooms, electric leaf blowers and hot water in public toilet facilities is no longer permitted.

escalation step 2

  • Commercially used Tumble dryer, iron and mangle may be used daily for 9 hours. There are no restrictions for healthcare institutions. are in the private sphere clothes dryer and iron forbidden.
  • Publicly accessible spaces, which are mainly heated by electrical energy, may be heated to a maximum of 19 degrees. For guest rooms, for example in hotels, there is an upper temperature limit of 20 degrees. There are still exceptions for rooms in healthcare institutions where patients are treated. In Hospitality kitchens the heating must be set to the lowest level or switched off. The maximum temperature in transhipment centers and warehouses is 18 degrees. the Refrigeration and freezer furniture may not be cooled below -19 degrees with exceptions. The temperature of Warming displays or drawers in the hospitality industry is limited to 65 degrees.
  • hot water, which is mainly generated by electrical energy, may be heated to a maximum of 60 degrees. There are exceptions, for example, for hospitals, retirement and nursing homes or food companies.
  • Discotheques, clubs and dance or similar events have to set the heating to the lowest level or switch it off completely. ice machines in the commercial sector, a maximum of 4 hours may be operated daily.
  • streaming services must limit the resolution of their offerings to Standard Definition (SD). Server rooms and data centers must not be cooled below 25 degrees.
  • There are also numerous prohibitions: With exceptions, the use of screens and beamers for advertising purposes, shop window lighting, neon signs, holiday lighting, beverage coolers in retail and hospitality or the operation of escalators is no longer permitted.

escalation step 3

  • Reduction of shop opening times by several hours a day.
  • Electrically heated rooms may at most 18 degrees be heated. With the exception of healthcare institutions such as hospitals, medical practices, and retirement and nursing homes that serve to treat patients.
  • Whirlpools, body tanning devices, saunas, infrared cabins, steam baths, massage chairs and other electrically operated wellness facilities in the commercial sector, a maximum of seven hours per day may be operated.
  • privately used electric cars may only be used in absolutely necessary cases – for example for doctor visits, shopping or to exercise your profession.
  • There are also numerous prohibitions: With some exceptions, the operation of electric swimming pool heaters, the lighting of sports fields and facilities, the holding of amateur sports events, the use of car and commercial vehicle wash systems or the operation of disco lights, among other things, are no longer permitted. DVD players or game consoles may no longer be used either – just like streaming services for entertainment purposes.

quotas

  • Are affected by the quota system bulk consumersthat consume more than 100 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity annually. That affects 34,000 companieswhich account for almost half of electricity consumption in Switzerland.
  • In addition to the great savings potential, the focus on large consumers has the advantage that the measure bindingly implemented can be and their Effect quickly measurable is.
  • The quota is up a day or one month created. With monthly quotas, bulk consumers can use the quota distributed over the month according to their needs.
  • The Federal Council does not provide for any exceptions to the electricity quota system. All companies must do their part. “Operators of infrastructure for supplying the country with vital goods and services can also reduce their electricity consumption.”
  • This means: Even hospitals, the police or wholesalers like Migros have to make do with less electricity in an emergency. With the option of trading quotas, however, companies gain a certain degree of flexibility because they can buy electricity from other companies. There is only one exception: public transport. A savings model that the industry has developed together with the federal government applies here.
  • The SBB operates a own power supply network and generates a large part of the required electricity with its own power plants. For many safety systems (signalling, level crossings, etc.), the railway is still dependent on the public power grid. The allocation of public transport electricity should be “central and uniform”. This means that it is determined in advance how many trains should still be on the road – and then the electricity is allocated accordingly.
  • It is also forbidden the operation of sports facilities such as snow-making facilities, cultural and leisure events.

power off

  • As a last resort, the Confederation can mains shutdowns provide. Operators of vital services such as energy and water supply, blue light organizations or basic medical care can be exempt from this.

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