A top utility industry official warned on Wednesday that if Europe’s energy crisis causes winter power shortages, Switzerland may resort to continuous four-hour regional blackouts.
The nation is prepared for power and gas shortages as a result of the Ukraine conflict, potential disruptions in gas supplies, and the situation at French nuclear power reactors, but authorities insisted energy supplies were safe for the time being.
According to Michael Frank, head of the VSE organization of Swiss electrical providers, Switzerland intends to phase in progressively stringent power conservation requirements if necessary.
He told a government press conference in Bern that the government will first propose voluntary conservation efforts – a public awareness campaign would be launched next month – and then limit non-essential usage like as lighting store displays, using mobile heaters, or lighting at night.
In an extreme case, it could then force roughly 30,000 businesses to conserve up to 30% of their electricity use. He projected that the first three stages may reduce electricity usage by 25-30%.
Bern might, as a last option, shut down portions of the electricity grid.
“You have to think of it as a puzzle. Individual parts would be turned off for four hours and then turned back on while others were turned off. Some areas of the network, or jigsaw pieces, would lose power for four hours, then regain power for four or eight hours, depending on the scenario “He said.
Switzerland selected rationing because it does not want to move straight to total network shutdowns, as France does, he noted.
All eyes were on whether Russian gas would continue to flow to Western Europe, where Switzerland obtains its supply, particularly with Nord Stream 1 pipeline repairs planned until Thursday.