Stéphane Garelli: “I can’t believe the blackout this winter in Switzerland” –

While some experts raise the specter of a power outage in Switzerland, economist Stéphane Garelli says he is skeptical about a possible blackout this winter. According to him, there are alternatives and can be put into practice to avoid this situation.

The specter of a power outage this winter has caused a lot of ink to flow and has shaken the political sphere and the energy sector since the beginning of the summer. If nothing clearly indicates, for the time being, that we should give in to alarmism, calls to save energy are multiplying.

Also in the Confederation, the possibility of shortages is worrying. According to the chairman of the Federal Electricity Commission, power outages lasting several hours are expected this winter. Stéphane Genoud, professor of energy management at HES-SO Valais, estimated this week in La Matinale that alternating cuts between regions were possible to avoid a nationwide shortage.

>> Read also: Power outages to be expected this winter, warns federal commission and Stéphane Genoud: “To avoid a total blackout, it may be necessary to cut Lausanne and Geneva alternately”

For Stéphane Garelli, professor of economics at IMD Lausanne, there is no cause for concern. “I find it absurd to say that we are going to cut electricity for four hours in a city. I don’t believe in the blackout,” he said Friday into the microphone of La Matinale.

Switzerland, according to him, prefers to adopt measures such as banning night lighting in shops or cities or establishing car-free Sundays, as has been done in the past. “There are many possibilities instead of cutting off all electricity,” said the economist. He also highlighted the responsible nature of the Swiss population: “If we tell them to save energy, they will.”

A possible “mild” recession

Despite rising energy prices, inflation in Switzerland remains relatively low internationally. According to the latest forecasts by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and analysts, the country should not experience a severe recession.

But the indicators are vague, they even contradict each other, says Stéphane Garelli. For him, the possibility of a “mild” recession in Europe is likely. “Today we are entering a much more fractured world than before. The situation has changed: we are creating inflation in the system itself. This phenomenon will accompany us for a long time,” said the professor.

>> Read also: The economic impact of electricity shortages is not accurately studied in Switzerland

If it happens, this recession, even a mild one, will benefit companies that can easily absorb price increases, such as luxury companies, as well as those linked to the energy trade, explains Stéphane Garelli.

The government must help vulnerable families

Given the rise in energy prices, the economic prospects for fragile families that do not have savings are not encouraging, however, stressed the economist.

“Electricity, heating, are costs impossible to avoid”, he recalled. He believes that the solution must come from governments, which must take “targeted measures” to help these families financially.

As for companies, “we are not yet at a stage where they need help. They will adapt,” said the economist, who praised Switzerland’s resilience, “the most economically diverse country in the world.”

Wage negotiations are also expected this fall, especially for low pay, Stéphane Garelli believes, thus sharing the union’s hypothesis that if employers don’t raise wages, there will be social and political unrest.

>> Read also: Labour.Switzerland calls for wage increases to combat rising cost of living

Interview by Aleksandra Planinic/iar

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