Switzerland is considering fining and jailing citizens who heat their homes past 19 degrees Celcius (66 degrees Fahrenheit) if the country is forced to further ration natural gas amid Europe’s energy crisis, according to Swiss media outlet Blick.
Swiss residents who violate proposed state laws concerning gas rationing could face penalties such as fines of up to 3,000 Swiss Francs ($3,071) or imprisonment of up to three years, according to an official Federal Department of Economic Affairs document seen by Blick. Daily fines for excess natural gas usage could start at 30 Swiss Francs ($30.71), a department spokesman told Blick.
The proposed penalties for excess energy usage like heating homes and businesses over 66 degrees Fahrenheit or heating water over 140 degrees Fahrenheit would be determined by the circumstances of the violation such as whether the offense was intentional or not. However, the proposed laws will likely be challenged in Swiss courts and will be difficult to enforce, Blick reported.
The Swiss Police Chief Fredy Fässler also told the government to only implement measures that can be reasonably enforced as the chief does not want the police to go door to door, imposing the measures on citizens, according to Blick. Fässler said that simple fines, such as those that the country implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, would be a far more feasible method of punishing people for using too much fuel.
The police chief also warned that electricity shortages and blackouts could lead to civil unrest in an August interview with Blick.
Swiss Economy Minister Guy Parmelin also stated on Aug. 30 that the goal of the energy-saving restrictions, which are currently part of a voluntary campaign, was not to turn the country into a police state, according to Swiss media outlet TheLocal.Ch.
“If someone is breaking the rules, they will be reported by neighbors,” Parmelin said. “We won’t have to send in the police.”
Russia’s cut-off of natural gas via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline is causing European electricity prices to spike as countries look to ration supplies ahead of winter months. Switzerland also adopted the European Union’s sanctions on Russian crude oil and petroleum products in June, according to a Federal Council press release.
The Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.