Policy pulls the plug on energy-sucking devices

The federal government wants to save one billion kilowatt hours (kwH) of energy each year year by banning inefficient appliances and light bulbs.

This content was published on June 24, 2009 - 16:46

Moritz Leuenberger, the energy minister, said on Wednesday that increasing efficiency was one of the best ways the country's power plants could meet domestic demand, although environmental groups say the proposed measures do not go far enough.

Under a newly revised energy-regulation policy, electrical household appliances, motors and other devices starting next year can only be sold in Switzerland if they meet established efficiency requirements. The standards are largely in line with those set by the European Union.

The most prominent casualty of the policy will be the conventional incandescent light bulb, which stands to be eliminated entirely from shelves by 2012.

Freezers, refrigerators and washing machines would also be affected. Leuenberger said the standards would mean some devices would use less electricity in stand-by mode than the process of shutting them off and back on again.

Over the last decade Switzerland's electricity use grew by 18 per cent to a record 58.7 billion kWh, in 2008.

The new standards would save about 960 million kWh and SFr150 million ($138.5 million) per year, or the same amount of electricity used in the city of Bern annually.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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