Top Swiss energy company Axpo Group has reported a significant decline in profits in the last financial year, resulting in a dramatic need to restructure.

"/> Top Swiss energy company Axpo Group has reported a significant decline in profits in the last financial year, resulting in a dramatic need to restructure.

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Axpo to axe 140 staff as profits slump

Top Swiss energy company Axpo Group has reported a significant decline in profits in the last financial year, resulting in a dramatic need to restructure.

The Axpo Group reported on Monday that operating profit has dropped from 538 million francs ($576 million) in the 2009/2010 financial year to just 139 million francs last year, while consolidated net profit has dropped from 409 million francs to just 45 million francs.

The decline is being blamed in part on the instability of the financial markets, the impact of the Fukushima accident, rising costs incurred by the decommissioning and dismantling of nuclear power plants, as well as those incurred by changes in regulation.

The company has announced that it will cut up to 140 positions from March 2012. Some of the cuts in jobs will be achieved by implementing a policy of not replacing employees whose contracts have expired or who are due for retirement. Nevertheless, a certain proportion of the companies’ workers will also need to be made redundant.

Axpo has estimated that it needs to invest 21 billion francs between now and 2030 in order for it to ensure its supply of environmentally friendly electricity. In order to achieve its objective, the company will have to carry out major cost-saving initiatives as well as significant restructuring. This initial phase of restructuring is expected to save the company approximately 100 million francs.

In particular, Axpo reports that it may have to rely not only on domestically produced electricity, but also on imported supplies. Existing organisational structures will need to be optimized and it is envisaged that trading activities between companies EGL AG and Axpo AG will be merged, as will several other parts of the business.

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How can you save on your household energy bills in Switzerland?

Like almost everything else in Switzerland, the price of electricity is high here. These are some strategies for reducing your energy costs.

There are several strategies to lower energy costs in Switzerland.
Installing solar panels on the roof could save on energy costs in the long term, but there are other ways as well to reduce bills. Photo by Vivint Solar from Pexels

If you are a tenant, your energy consumption costs may be included in your rent. But if you are a home or apartment owner, you have to pay these charges yourself. And they can be quite expensive.

Depending on the kind and size of dwelling you live in, your energy bills could add up to several thousand francs each year.

And winters in Switzerland can get quite cold, with temperatures dropping to minus 30 degrees in some parts of the country on certain years.

READ MORE: Switzerland weather: Snow and rain forecast in various regions

So unless you are lucky enough to have a wood-burning fireplace which radiates heat throughout your house, sitting under the blanket and drinking hot cocoa may not be enough to keep you warm on those chilly winter days — though it does sound very cosy.

Most people will probably crank up their heat, and as many Swiss households use electric power for heat, that may get quite expensive.

In fact, a household in Switzerland spends on average between a half and full monthly salary on its energy consumption each year, according to a price comparison site

However, “with small, simple actions to perform on a daily basis, it is possible to reduce energy consumption and save money, without sacrificing comfort” said.

Here are some common-sense energy-saving measures the site outlines to keep electricity bills down: 

  • Use heat in moderation, setting the temperature according to the size of the room and how often it is being used. Unoccupied rooms should not be heated at all.
  • Turn off the light when leaving a room (this advice is logical and reasonable, and yet many people neglect to do so).
  • Shut down electrical appliances such as TV and computers completely when not in use,  or even unplug them altogether.
  • Use appliances with the energy label “A”, LED lamps and energy-saving bulbs, avoiding devices with high energy consumption, such as aquariums and fan heaters.
  • In terms of water consumption, typically a resident of Switzerland uses a little more than 160 litres of water daily, of which around one-third is hot, according to

To reduce hot water consumption, take (quick) showers rather than baths, use water-saving shower heads, and keep its temperature at no more than 50 degrees Celsius.

What about solar panels?

Solar panels are expensive upfront; the actual cost is determined by the size of your house and roof, as well as subsidies you can get from the government. However, it is likely to save you money in the long term.

Just how much will depend on several factors, including how large / small your house is and what your energy needs and consumption are.

You can see whether this option would be economically beneficial to you by using a calculator on this platform for homeowners in Switzerland.

READ MORE: Cost of living: The most – and least – expensive cantons in Switzerland