27. September 2022 | The Federal Council has not declared an imminent electricity shortage
Contrary to what was written in a report in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), the Federal Council has not declared an imminent electricity shortage. The fact that the legal basis for the measures currently being taken is provided by the National Economic Supply Act (NESA), namely Article 32 NESA, does not mean that there is about to be a severe shortage of electricity.
Article 32 of the NESA can serve as a basis for measures that require a certain lead time, such as measures of a technical or constructional nature, in order to prepare for a perceived shortage situation that is considered possible in the medium term.
This interpretation is by no means new as the federal government has regularly made use of its option (under Article 31 para. 2 letter f NESA) to release compulsory stocks in the past. This measure too serves primarily to prevent a shortage situation from occurring at a time when a severe shortage situation is considered possible by the experts, but is by no means certain.
However, there are no plans to take demand-steering measures (bans on use, etc.), for example, as the necessary conditions (e.g. immediacy, proportionality) are not met.
7th September 2022 | How would checks take place? Are there plans to impose fines?
An article in the newspaper Blick has been misunderstood or wrongly reproduced by certain members of the public. There is currently no shortage of electricity or natural gas in Switzerland. There are therefore no restrictions or bans on energy usage in force that could be violated. Concepts are currently being prepared for the possible eventuality that restrictions or bans may become necessary in the event of severe scarcity (of natural gas or electricity). Consultation proceedings on a draft ordinance (regarding a severe scarcity of gas) are ongoing with interested stakeholders. Énergie : mise en consultation des mesures prévues en cas de pénurie de gaz (admin.ch) / Energie: Massnahmen für eine Gasmangellage gehen in Konsultation (admin.ch).
Of course, consideration also has to be given to how any possible restrictions or bans are to be implemented and monitored. The National Economic Supply Act (NESA), which would serve as the basis for any restrictions or bans, does not provide for administrative fines in its current form. Pursuing violations under the NESA would therefore be more complicated; however, any possible fines would not be higher than a normal administrative fine. In any case, an important point is that strict checks are neither feasible nor desirable. In Switzerland, we trust people to abide by the law.
Last modification 28.09.2022