Switzerland mulls jail sentences for those heating their homes excessively

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Switzerland mulls jail sentences and fines for those who turn the heat up in their homes to more than 19C, in preparation for the possibility that the country is forced to ration gas.

A spokesperson for the Federal Department of Finance, Markus Sporndli told news site Blick that if the country is forced to ration gas, it will have to take drastic action to ensure residents make the necessary savings.

He said that if rationing is introduced anyone who heats their homes above 19C could find themselves with a daily fine of CHF30 (€30.70) and jail for persistent offenders.

Companies will also not go unpunished if they exceed their quota, with heating to be set at no higher than 19C and water at 60C.

To ensure that there is enough gas to go around, unessential such as saunas, swimming pools and radiant heaters would be need to be turned off.

The measures have been published in the Federal Law on National Economic Supply with the cantons of Switzerland being given until September 22 to submit any concerns.   

Senior Police Officer Fredy Fassler has apparently advised the government only to implement laws that can be implemented and enforced, and with a “sense of proportion.” Clearly, not every home can be checked and the police will have to rely on other measures to identify infringements.

Some hold the view that the legislation will never get off the ground and will be held up by court challenges, with SVP Economics Minister Guy Parmelin saying: “We are not a police state.”

Whilst the debate rages about whether the measures are too dictatorial or unenforceable, there is a serious point in all of this. Everyone needs to make some savings now or face the prospect of rationing, which is forced savings.

Quite simply the cost of energy remains high purely due to the limited supply of gas and electricity. If we all make savings by switching off items not in use or by turning down your heating and water boiler, we will reduce demand and that should lead to a drop in the price.

Although the legislation that sees Switzerland mull jail sentences may be considered extreme, it may be the only option for governments if residents fail to make the necessary savings. It is in our hands, we can do this!


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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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