A top official warned that all bets were off in the event of severe blackouts.
According to the chief police officer of one canton, Swiss citizens may rebel and turn against their government if they are hit hard by an energy crisis this winter.
Fredy Fassler, the head of the Security and Justice Department in the canton of St. Gallen, told German-language daily Blick that a blackout would have “far-reaching consequences.”
“Think about it: you cannot withdraw money from the ATM. You also can not pay for your purchases in store with your card. Heat stops working. It’s cold. Streets go dark. The possibility exists that looting or rebellion could occur.,” he said, adding that the country’s authorities should take measures to prepare for such extreme scenarios.
Fassler stated that although he doesn’t believe such a tragedy is probable, the police had prepared for it. According to Fassler, 2014 exercise plans for an eventual blackout revealed many flaws including a dearth of emergency generators in hospitals and police stations, as well as other infrastructure and services.
“In recent years these shortcomings were addressed, and the security forces have become more prepared.,” the police chief added, noting that his agency is even prepared to provide the Swiss with cash if they are unable to use cards in stores, given that relevant agreements with banks have been signed.
Fassler’s comments come after Swiss authorities said last week that they may place restrictions on energy consumption this coming winter, signaling that “power shortages [are]Among the greatest risks are” for the landlocked country.
Earlier, Werner Luginbuhl, the head of Switzerland’s electricity regulator ElCom, complained that electricity was being used “Completely illogical,” and urged citizens to stock up on candles and firewood due to possible power outages in the country this winter.