Swiss minister urges calm over energy shortage fears

Parmelin says every effort must be made to avoid imposing energy restrictions. ©keystone/peter Schneider

The threat of energy shortages in Switzerland this winter should not be over-dramatised, Economics Minister Guy Parmelin has said in response to growing calls at the weekend for government action.

This content was published on August 22, 2022

A number of business groups and left-leaning political groups voiced concerns in last weekend’s newspapers, with some taking aim at the government for a perceived lack of urgency.

“We must avoid the dramatisation that we are currently witnessing,” Parmelin told RTS public radio on Monday. He said the government is poised to announce its winter energy strategy in the coming weeks.

The key concern for the government is to find ways of avoiding energy quotas being forced onto households and businesses.

“Imposing restrictions – rather than recommendations – on ​​people is something that must be thought through very carefully. People’s freedom is at stake,” said Parmelin.

The minister added that the first line of defence against shortages would be for the population and the economy to self-regulate their own energy consumption in the coming months.

The Ukraine war has ramped up fears of an energy crunch, with Russia reducing or cutting off gas supplies to European countriesExternal link. The hot dry summer has further restricted oil and gas imports by reducing the volume of rivers that are used to transport the commodities.

The dry conditions have also lowered reservoir levels at hydro-electric plants, which Switzerland relies on for around 60% of its electricity production.

Electricity providers have already warned of a steep rise in household billsExternal link in the coming months.

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