Despite being one of the richest nations in the world, Switzerland is one of the least energy self-sufficient, with domestic power production only meeting 25% of the nation’s energy requirements. The current situation has become so dire that Switzerland’s environment minister is suggesting that people shower together in order to save energy.
After advising people to share showers in an effort to reduce energy use in winter and prevent power outages, Switzerland’s environment minister has come under fire.
According to The Times of London, Simonetta Sommaruga, 62, encouraged people to “turn off the computer when you don’t need it, or turn off lights, or shower together” as part of her efforts to encourage a 15% decrease in energy consumption.
According to the report, she made the remarks in response to queries from Swiss newspaper 20 Minuten readers about the government’s campaign.
In August, Swiss authorities said that they aimed to reduce energy usage from October 2022 to the end of March 2023 by 15% compared to the average use over the previous five years. Switzerland imports 75% of its gas from Germany.
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In that same month, authorities also launched the “Energy is limited. Let’s not waste it” campaign, which encouraged people to use less water, turn off lights and appliances when not in use, and decrease their heating temperatures to assist the nation avoid an energy shortfall before winter.
Local reports state that the Swiss Federal Council may enact “consumption restrictions, bans, and quota systems” if the situation does not get better and more shortages are observed.
‘Administer Our Private Lives’
The editor of the women’s magazine Femina, Géraldine Savary, has severely criticized Sommaruga’s remarks.
The Swiss government is attempting to “administer our private lives, down to the most trivial details,” according to an editorial by Savary that was published on September 16.
She added sarcastically that Swiss citizens should turn off their alarm clocks so they might wake up to the sound of “chirping birds,” eat breakfast in “the darkness of the kitchen,” and then leave for work “arm in arm, having left the car, the scooter and the electric bicycle in the garage.”
In response to the criticism, Sommaruga told the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper in Switzerland that her remarks about taking showers together were meant for youngsters.
Although she acknowledged that “after a certain age, showering together is no longer suitable for everyone,” she asserted that the practice was still commonly accepted as a way to save energy, according to The Times of London.
According to swissinfo.ch, despite being one of the richest nations in the world, Switzerland is one of the least energy self-sufficient, with domestic power production only meeting 25% of the nation’s energy requirements. Additionally, it lacks its own gas storage facilities, thus a decrease in gas imports from Europe would have an impact on the nation.
Gazprom, the state-owned energy company of Russia, recently declared that gas shipments through its Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany would not resume anytime in the near future. An official timeline for the reopening has not yet been issued by the oil company.