In general, the following applies to both electricity and gas shortages: In the event of an imminent or existing severe shortage that the economy is unable to counteract itself, it is the responsibility of the Federal Council to take intervention measures to manage the shortage on the basis of the National Supply Act. The Federal Council can issue corresponding regulations by means of an ordinance. Within this framework, it must also determine the personal and material scope of the intervention measures. The measures ordered must always comply with the principle of proportionality. For this reason, graduated prepared measures are also available, which have been worked out by the National Economic Supply. In a first step, the population would be called upon to voluntarily save energy by means of savings appeals; as the last possible measures, grid disconnections could be used in the case of an electricity shortage and the quotaing of natural gas customers in the case of a gas shortage.
Gas shortage situation:
In order to keep the reduction in natural gas supplies as low as possible for all consumers, all non-protected customers are to be allocated quotas without prioritisation. The consumers affected by a quota are entitled to a reduced quantity of natural gas during the management period. This quantity is calculated on the basis of the reference consumption multiplied by the quota rate. Protected consumers include: (a) households connected to a natural gas distribution network for heat supply; (b) basic social services (e.g. hospitals, homes) that do not belong to the education and public administration sectors; and (c) district heating plants, insofar as they supply heat to consumers according to (a) and (b) and cannot change fuel. In addition, restrictions on use are also currently being examined. This could ban the consumption of gas for certain applications.
In an electricity shortage situation, there is electricity, but not enough. If appeals for savings are not enough, the National Economic Supply (NES) can resort to prepared electricity management measures to control electricity consumption and supply. These measures are applied individually or in combination, depending on the situation, and aim to continue to enable an orderly social coexistence in Switzerland. To reduce electricity consumption, consumption restrictions (bans or restrictions on electrical applications), quotas for large consumers (consumption > 100 MWh per year) and rolling shutdowns of sub-grids are envisaged. Operators of critical infrastructures as well as consumers relevant to the basic supply are basically treated the same as all other consumers. In the event of an electricity shortage, certain consumers relevant to the basic supply can be partially or completely exempted from management measures, depending on the situation. The Federal Council may decide on this on the occasion of the assessment of the specific supply situation and taking into account the respective crisis situation.
The BWL homepage on energy energy (admin.ch) has more information on WL’s preparations for an energy shortage.