Panic is beginning to set in over Europe’s worsening energy crisis, forcing countries to ration supplies and even threaten fines or jail time for individuals and businesses caught violating the emergency restrictions.
Switzerland’s Federal Department of Economic Affairs recently proposed new rules under the Federal Law on National Economic Supply that limit indoor temperatures to a maximum of 19 degrees Celsius, and water temperatures to 60 degrees Celsius for buildings with gas heating systems. Use of radiant heaters would be prohibited during the rationing period, while swimming pools and saunas cannot be heated.
Those caught violating the measures could face daily penalties anywhere between 30 to 3,000 Swiss Francs or even jail time, and utility companies could also face fines should they knowingly surpass their gas quotas. Those states (or cantons as they are referred to in Switzerland) opposing the new instructions have until September 22 to voice their concerns or alternate proposals. The government will likely face an uphill battle when it comes to implementation, though, and courts will be busy disputing challenges arising from the rules.
Earlier, the country unveiled a voluntary gas savings target of 15% for the winter season as Russia’s reprisal against Western-imposed sanctions could lead to widespread gas shortages and chaos across the European Union. However, should the voluntary suggestions fail to materialize, the country would put the mandatory rationing moves in place. In the meantime, other countries facing the energy crisis are also taking action, with Britain’s new prime minster Liz Truss vowing to subsidize consumers’ energy bills, while France’s Emmanuel Macron promising to freeze gas prices and cap electricity price increases to a maximum of 4%.
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