The most important information on the electricity and gas shortage
All press releases on the electricity and gas shortage at a glance.
- 23 March 2023: Electricity and gas shortage – Cantonal measures to be partially lifted in mid-April (PDF, 5 pages, 229 KB)
- 9 December 2022: Electricity shortage: Government Council critical of grid shutdowns, controls on private companies not proportionate (PDF, 4 pages, 133 KB)
- 16 November 2022: Electricity and gas shortage – Birr reserve power plant only emergency solution for winter 2022/23 to 2024/25 (PDF, 6 pages, 310 KB)
- 14 October 2022: Electricity and Gas Shortage – "Be an Energy Saving Fox – Every Kilowatt Hour Counts" (PDF, 3 pages, 320 KB)
- 29 September 2022: Minimise the risk of a power and gas shortage with immediate measures and plan precautions and preparations for the event of an incident (PDF, 5 pages, 34 KB)
- 16 September 2022: Electricity and gas shortage: Government Council decides on measures for the cantonal administration (PDF, 5 pages, 48 KB)
- 2 September 2022: Birr reserve power plant clears important hurdle (PDF, 2 pages, 20 KB)
- 18 August 2022: Electricity and gas shortage – Energy Canton Aargau takes responsibility, but also makes demands of the federal government (PDF, 7 pages, 235 KB)
Measures and behavioural recommendations
Information for the population on recommendations, offers of help and further measures.
An electricity and gas shortage would affect practically all areas of life and thus also political areas. Contingencies or phased outages in the energy sector (for example, electricity grid shutdowns) would have a direct impact on private and public life, but especially also on the relevant basic supply and the economy. In addition, there are medium and long-term effects such as economic and social consequences.
The savings of every Aargauer may seem small, but in total they make a considerable difference. With rising energy prices, they also pay off financially. Energy already saved helps to keep the water reserves in the reservoirs for the winter. You and we are helping to minimise the risk or negative impact of an electricity and gas shortage. Saving energy, especially electricity, is easy and in most cases can be done without sacrificing anything.
Energy saving tips
Room temperature and climate
- Air conditioning only from 33 degrees Celsius, do not cool below 26 degrees
- Room temperature of 19 to 20 degrees Celsius during the day and 18 degrees Celsius at night – with each degree less heating you save around 6 percent energy
- Ventilate windows (open wide 3 to 5 times a day for 5 to 10 minutes) instead of tilting them.
- Showering instead of bathing
- Water-saving shower heads and aerators reduce hot water consumption
- Use daylight whenever possible
- Lighting with LED lamps
- Turn off lights when leaving a room.
- Switch off electronic devices completely (stand-by less than 0.5 watts).
- Switch off and unplug printers when not in use
- When watching television, reduce ambient light and brightness of the television.
- Use ECO programmes on washing machines and dishwashers.
- Allow hot food to cool before placing it in the refrigerator.
- When cooking, use pans with lids that fit the size of the hob.
- Bake with convection instead of top and bottom heat
Preparing for a power shortage situation
The following tips and recommendations will help you prepare for a power shortage.
- Stock up on sufficient supplies of water and food.
- Make arrangements to be able to care for relatives in need of care yourself for some time if necessary. Keep a week's supply of medicines and hygiene products.
- With the help of a battery-powered radio, you can get important information from the authorities even in the event of a power cut.
- With candles, torches and camping cookers (including batteries and gas cartridges) you will have light and the possibility to warm food even without electricity.
- If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, keep a supply of wood, briquettes or coal.
- Always keep a certain amount of cash at home. In the event of a power cut, ATMs and electronic means of payment will no longer work.
- Check equipment in the household that is no longer available without electricity but on which you are dependent (e.g. electronic locking systems, stair lifts, electric patient bed, etc.).
Correct behaviour in the event of a power cut
The following tips and recommendations will help you to behave correctly in the event of a power cut.
- Keep calm and provide sufficient lighting.
- Listen to the radio; possibly use battery-powered devices (e.g. smartphone) to check the website of the electricity provider or via Alertswiss to find out if specific information is to be expected.
- Switch off all mains-powered devices. When the power is back, switch on one device at a time.
- If your phone is still working: Call emergency numbers only in emergencies and avoid unnecessary calls (risk of mains overload).
- Wear warm clothing in winter. This helps to compensate for the loss of heating.
- Keep refrigerators and freezers closed if possible; the refrigerator does not need to be emptied before six hours of power failure, the freezer only after 24 hours.
- Check whether people are trapped in lifts in the house; organise help if necessary.
- Inform elderly people about the power cut.
- Contact neighbours and do not abandon single people to their fate. Join forces and help each other.
- If you need help or want to find out about the situation, go to the nearest emergency meeting point.
Inform and support in crisis situations
In a crisis situation, it is particularly important to be informed about the current situation as well as to support people in need in the immediate vicinity if necessary.
In a crisis situation, it is particularly important to reach the affected population quickly and as directly as possible. On AlertSwiss, the relevant information on events in Switzerland flows together: an information hub that can protect and save lives. With the national alert app AlertSwiss, you receive alerts, warnings and information for various hazards directly on your smartphone. Parallel to the messages in the app, the event information is also published on the Alertswiss website.
The messages displayed come from the officially responsible authorities. Various security measures (integrity protection) ensure that the messages only originate from the authorised senders.
Emergency meeting points
The emergency meeting point is the point of contact in the event of a power and/or communications failure. In most cases, the means of communication also fail in the event of a power failure and it is no longer possible to alert the emergency services via mobile or landline telephone.
In the event of a power failure, the emergency meeting point in your municipality will be manned within ten minutes. If you need help or want to find out about the situation, this is always available to you. Emergency meeting points are equipped with emergency power and have protected emergency communication with the authorities.
Emergency meeting points Canton Aargau
If possible, talk to people in your neighbourhood who are in need of help (e.g. elderly people, people with an illness or people who need assistance) about their needs in the event of a restriction in the gas or electricity supply. If necessary, support them, e.g. in creating an emergency plan or an emergency supply.
The most important information, the further procedure and demands of the canton regarding the Birr reserve power plant.
Reserve power plant in Birr for electricity capacity available at short notice
To prevent an electricity shortage in winter, the Federal Council has decided on various measures. These include the construction of a reserve power plant in Birr (AG). On 2 September 2022, the Swiss Confederation concluded a contract with General Electric Global Services GmbH (GE) for the provision of a temporary reserve power plant on the premises of its site in the municipality of Birr. The construction of the eight TM2500 mobile gas turbine generator units with a total capacity of 250 megawatts was carried out on the basis of a permit issued by the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC).
However, the Birr reserve power plant could not be completed by 15 February 2023 as originally planned. The reason for this was the extensive work required to provide the connection to the electricity grid. Since 24 February 2023, all eight turbines and the new grid connection have been ready. In April, the tests for commissioning with gas are still taking place; the tests for operation with diesel have been completed. The tests have shown that thanks to the noise barrier, the noise pollution during operation is significantly lower than expected. By autumn 2023, the chimneys of the eight gas turbines will still be equipped with massive silencers.
The power plant will only be operated in emergencies and will be dismantled by the end of 2026. In the best case, it will never run at all - except for test operations. Operation depends on a large number of unforeseeable factors (in particular low temperatures in winter, availability of imported electricity especially from French nuclear power plants, water levels in the reservoirs, grid stability in Switzerland and in the European transmission grid).
Questions about the reserve power plant can be directed to the Swiss Federal Office of Energy: firstname.lastname@example.org
The demands of Canton Aargau
The canton of Aargau supports the federal government's measures to prevent an imminent electricity shortage. Thanks to the available space, sufficient connections to the gas, electricity and rail networks, and solution-oriented stakeholders, the Birr site has good prerequisites for the necessary rapid realisation of a thermal power plant.
However, in order to realise an operational temporary power plant with a high level of acceptance in good time, accompanying measures are absolutely necessary to minimise negative impacts such as noise, air pollution and greenhouse effects.
The responsible cantonal authorities demand from the federal government that the plant be built and operated in such a way as to minimise immissions (noise, air) and to ensure the protection of the population and the environment at all times. The plant must comply with current legislation in the environmental areas of noise protection and air pollution control. Due to the exceptional electricity shortage, the federal government will adjust certain limit values in these areas upwards for the possible operation of the power plant. The adjusted values must then be complied with in any case, and all technically and economically reasonable reduction paths to fall below the applicable limit values must be implemented as quickly as possible.
Finally, from the canton's point of view, the site should be strategically developed further. At the latest when the temporary contract expires in 2026, a regular, internally installed gas turbine with an output of 300 to 400 megawatts should be operational as a reserve power plant with multi-fuel mode (oil, gas, renewable fuels) for 15 to 20 years.
The canton of Aargau demands that all other options be exhausted first (i.e. first the use of the hydropower reserve or the emergency power generators [NSA]) before the Birr reserve power plant (RKW) is used. This is because the operation of these mobile, externally installed turbines represents a major burden in terms of noise and air for the municipality and its population. As far as possible, the legal time frame for the assessment level according to the Noise Abatement Ordinance (LSV) of 19:00–07:00 hours must be urgently observed.
Furthermore, any relaxations in relation to the Ordinance on Air Pollution Control (LRV) in the area of emission limits or operating restrictions should only be granted for the winter of 2022/23. From the point of view of the canton of Aargau, operators have sufficient time to upgrade installations for the following winters. With retrofits, conversions, refurbishments, etc., they can then fully comply with the provisions of the LRV.
The canton of Aargau also demands the implementation of a solution that is as environmentally friendly, economically friendly and easy to realise as possible. Therefore, the use of hydropower and subsequently NSA as reserve capacity should be the primary aim - because these plants already exist, relieve the electricity grid due to their decentralised nature and are, in principle, immediately available.
An objection to the Ordinance of 21 December 2022 on the Operation of Reserve Power Plants and Emergency Power Groups in the Event of an Imminent or Existing Shortage may be lodged in writing with the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications DETEC, Bundeshaus Nord, CH-3003 Bern, within 5 days of publication in the Federal Gazette. The objection must contain a request and must be substantiated.
The same applies to objections to the operating permit.
Deadline incl. suspension of deadlines: until 9 January 2023
From 10 January 2023, immission complaints must be submitted in writing to the Department of Construction, Transport and Environment, Division for the Environment, Buchenhof, Entfelderstrasse 22, 5001 Aarau. The complaint must contain an application and a statement of grounds.
For queries, please contact: email@example.com
Contacts on the topic of "electricity and gas shortage"
Mangellage Canton Aargau (only in German)
For all questions concerning the shortage situation, please contact the following address:
Energy advice (only in German)
For all questions regarding energy saving and production, please contact us as follows:
Telephone: 062 835 45 40
Availability by telephone:
Monday to Friday
08:30 – 12:00
13:30 – 16:30