Swiss adopt EU target to cut power demand

Night skyline of the city of Bern during a "lights-off" event (archive picture) Keystone / Peter Klaunzer

The Swiss government has agreed to cut power consumption in line with the European Union but will not impose a windfall profits tax on utilities that use fossil fuels.

This content was published on December 21, 2022

Switzerland will embrace on a voluntary basis the goal of reducing electricity consumption by 10% from January to March 2023 as well as in November and December 2023 - compared to the average of the last five years -, according to a government statement on Wednesday.

From January to March 2023, power consumption during peak times is to fall by 5%.

"It makes sense for Switzerland to voluntarily join the EU's electricity consumption reduction targets. This measure has a dampening effect on wholesale electricity prices. It also strengthens the security of supply," the government said.

It will not adopt most other EU measures, such as a levy on surplus profits in the fossil fuel sector, it added, confirming its view from last month that no action was needed given the economic situation and lower inflation than in other countries.

Gas industry

The government is planning to introduce regulations for the gas industry to prevent shortages in the next winter.

The legislation, to take effect next July, is aimed at regulating financial aspects and give the authorities access to data a gas and electricity supplies, according to a statement by the energy ministry.

The government on Wednesday also took note of a report about Switzerland's long-term electricity supplies. The study concluded that major supply bottlenecks could be avoided until 2040 if domestic hydropower production and import capacities complement each other. 

The study authors found that the European electricity supply system will become increasingly dependent on weather conditions with the expansion of renewable energies.

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