(FILE PHOTO) A general view taken during the second media day shows the 79th Geneva Car Show on March 4, 2009 in Geneva. The global auto industry, under pressure to curb emissions and grappling with plunging demand, insists it is getting serious about producing greener vehicles, ahead of the opening of the Geneva Motor Show. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP)
ZURICH, Switzerland (AFP) – Swiss mechanical and electrical engineering firms suggested on Tuesday shifting work to nights and weekends to avoid energy shortages at peak times, as part of measures to ensure the Alpine country’s economy makes it through the winter.
Switzerland, like other European countries, is staring down possible energy shortages this coming winter as Russia has lowered natural gas deliveries over the Western response to its invasion of Ukraine.
While the country exports electricity during the summer due to its ample hydropower resources, it imports energy during the cold winter months and concern is growing about how to ensure there are no energy shortages.
Swissmem, the association of Swiss mechanical and electrical engineering industries, urged that the government, businesses and general public immediately begin saving energy and to heat buildings less this winter.
It called on the government to waive sanctions on companies not meeting their climate obligations, in order to allow firms that can switch from gas to heating oil to do so.
It also urged firms that can do so to schedule production at night or on weekends.
“In a shortage situation, it is important to avoid peaks in electricity and gas consumption,” Swissmem said in a statement.
“Industry can help by switching production to nights or Sundays.”
It said that a simple authorisation process was needed to facilitate such changes.
While some companies can shift manufacturing times around, others such as those needing continuous high temperatures for production processes need uninterrupted power supplies.
Power cuts can destroy equipment in addition to ruining products.
“It is vital to prevent electricity or gas shortages,” Swissmem President Martin Hirzel warned.
“They would jeopardise companies and jobs in our industry,” he added.
© Agence France-Presse