SVP Economics Minister Guy Parmelin is currently revising the electricity ordinance, which caused criticism in the consultation and also in the official consultation.
Ruedi StuderBundeshaus Editor
The impending power shortage is electrifying the federal administration. The plans of SVP Economics Minister Guy Parmelin (63), with which austerity measures he wants to counteract the impending power shortage, provides for discussion in the offices. This is shown by the internal administration office consultation from autumn on the electricity management measures, which Blick based on the Public Information Act.
In it, the federal officials also drive Parmelin to the cart. The idea of 100 km/h on the Autobahn came under fire. If voluntary energy saving is no longer sufficient, drivers should take their foot off the accelerator. No matter whether in an electric car or in a petrol engine.
Electric cars “clearly in the minority”
This caused the Federal Office of Justice to shake their heads. It is understandable that electric cars would save electricity at lower speeds, it states in its November statement. Then comes the but: “However, you reduce the maximum speed not only for electric cars, but for all cars.” The court officials find that their contribution is not necessary to counteract a power shortage. They also question whether the proportion of electric cars on the freeway is actually so large that a speed reduction would have a noticeable effect on overall electricity consumption.
“At the moment, electric cars are clearly in the minority on the motorways,” the Federal Office complained in its statement. In any case, the question arises as to why everyone should drive less quickly, “while snow-making and skiing facilities are only banned at level 4”. The justification for throwing all cars in the same pot is simply “too poor”.
And the lawyers raise another objection: the Federal Council should actually only order speed reductions that would serve traffic safety. “The restriction to 100 km/h on motorways to reduce electricity consumption is not such a regulation.”
Parmelin’s own State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) also criticizes 100 km/h in the official consultation. The speed reduction should only apply to electric cars. A general reduction for fossil-fuelled cars “is not targeted,” says Seco. And pushes afterwards: “Or is it not possible to distinguish between speed checks and whether it’s electrical or thermal?”
For the time being, Parmelin is not deterred by these objections – although the proportion of purely electric cars in the total number of passenger cars at the end of 2022 was just 2.3 percent. The number of electric vehicles is constantly increasing and with it the savings potential, according to the explanations for the proposals presented by the SVP magistrate at the end of November. In addition, the petroleum products saved would “only be available for the operation of emergency power generators”. And if you fill up less, you will also save electricity.
Seco criticizes “micromanagement”
But not only Tempo 100 gives to talk. Ironically, the Seco, which is affiliated with Parmelin’s economic department, is bothered by the “micromanagement” of the federal government – i.e. the detailed restrictions from the washing temperature specification to the streaming ban.
It warns of the “danger that the norm addressees no longer know what applies”. And refers to the Corona regulations, when it was not always clear whether five or ten people were allowed to meet, whether inside or outside, etc. Some ban options – for cinemas, sporting events or other cultural and leisure events, for example, are simply fine with the Seco “too far”.
In any case, the economic officials want to protect large consumers as much as possible when it comes to prohibition specifications. In order to limit economic damage, the focus should be directed elsewhere. “Bans and restrictions should be more clearly limited to private households, the comfort sector and companies that are not subject to quotas,” the Seco requested – but in vain.
The Federal Council will decide in February
There are also all sorts of objections to the restriction and ban schedule, which provides for several escalation levels. While the Seco is pushing for easing to prevent actual “company closures”, the Federal Office for Civil Aviation is moving in the opposite direction. It is angry about the “preferential treatment of leisure and sports activities”, which only threaten deep cuts at a later escalation level. The office writes succinctly: “Artificial ice rinks, snow cannons, (primarily private) jacuzzis and every second indoor pool could not only be allocated quotas immediately and without significant social losses, but also be taken out of operation completely.”
Not only the feedback from the offices is controversial, but also the responses from parties, organizations and associations. The ordinances are currently being revised in the Economics Department – and Federal Councilor Parmelin will present his amended proposals to his government colleagues as early as February. One thing is already clear: the Electricity Ordinance will remain a piece of paper with pitfalls.
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