Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Government unveils its energy-saving plan, no financial aid for hard-hit families, and other Swiss news in our roundup on Thursday.
Switzerland launches its energy saving campaign
The Federal Council has decided on measures to ensure that Switzerland can quickly boost its energy supply in preparation for winter, when shortages could occur.
Authorities said that proposed measures, which have been forwarded to cantons for consultation, “will lead to a drop in the level of comfort” for the population. They primarily involve reducing the temperature of rooms and hot water in households and workplaces.
The campaign launched on Wednesday under the slogan “Energy is limited. Let’s not waste it”, highlights simple steps everyone can take to save electricity, the Federal Council said in a statement.
The price of electricity soars — in some places more than in others
As The Local reported on Wednesday, energy costs will increase in Switzerland by between 20 and 60 percent in 2023, depending on the place of residence, the size of the dwelling, and electricity supplier.
However, those hikes seem low when compared to the price of electricity in the Swiss municipality of Oberlunkhofen in Aargau, where costs have risen by…263 percent.
How is this possible?
“We did something stupid”, said Hans Hagenbuch, president of the local electricity distribution cooperative Elektra.
He explained that the company had long-term contracts to buy electricity on the open market, benefiting from a relatively low rates all along.
When the price of 1 kilowatt of gasoline reached 30 cents this summer, Elektra decided to buy a supply at this price. However, someone had forgotten to place the order.
By the time the error was discovered, the price of electricity tripled.
“It was absolutely not intentional”, Hagenbuch said, adding that “all we can do now is own up to our mistake and provide the public with honest information about how events unfolded”.
Government won’t help ease rising costs — for now
Although soaring energy prices have pushed inflation to an unusually high — for Switzerland — level (3.4 percent) and costs of consumer goods are going up as well, the Federal Council doesn’t see the need to offer immediate financial relief for low-income households.
However, authorities have commissioned an interdepartmental group to reassess the need for action, taking into account future price and wage developments.
The group will report its findings to the Federal Council in October, at which time authorities will re-asses the situation as needed.
Zurich’s trash bag to become cheaper (and bluer)
The city of Zurich is reducing its waste fees and will be introducing organic waste collection from January 1st, 2023, municipal authorities announced on Wednesday.
At the same time, the colour of the Züri-Sack, the city’s official (and the only authorised) garbage disposal bag, will change from white to blue, and its price will be cut according to its size.
The new pricing can be seen here.
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