The Swiss government has set a voluntary reduction target for the winter to safeguard against potential gas shortages in Europe.
On Wednesday, the Federal Council announced that it wants demand for gas to be reduced by 15% from October 2022 to the end of March 2023 compared to the average consumption of the last five years. In doing so, the Swiss government is following the European Union, which set itself the same target a month ago to prepare for possible disruptions of gas supplies from Russia.
Heating alone accounts for three quarters of the gas consumed in winter. Households, industry, services sector and public institutions have been asked to turn down the thermostat. One degree less of heating, for example, saves 5% to 6% of energy, according to the government. An information campaign will be launched at the end of August.
Voluntary switching of dual-fuel installations from gas to oil is also encouraged. This could result in savings of up to 20% of total consumption. However, companies resorting to this strategy run the risks of incurring additional CO2 taxes. Adjustments to the relevant ordinance are therefore being prepared.
Other energy saving measures proposed by Federal Council include unplugging of unused appliances and computers, efficient use of office spaces and working from home.
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