The future might bring great challenges13.09.2022 Local News
The cable car industry was on the upswing. Now there is the threat of a power shortage for the coming winter. And three months before the winter season, should we be worried?
Not only are electricity and fuel prices rising, but a shortage of energy and water seems hardly avoidable in the foreseeable future: is the cable car industry facing major challenges? GstaadLife takes a closer look.
Matthias In-Albon, Bergbahn Destination Gstaad, says, “Panic is not on the agenda. Corona has taught the industry a great deal. It has developed from an undynamic to a very dynamic industry. We have become much more agile, and we can react quicker”. Marco Luggen, Berner Bergbahnen, agrees, “I can only support that. Our industry has always had to optimise, and we are confident that we can ride out the next bump that comes along”.
Fuel and electricity prices are rising. Will tickets become more expensive?
Marco Luggen: “Ultimately, each company must determine its own pricing. Some have already increased their prices slightly, while others have not yet indicated. But we must assume that all products that need energy will probably experience adjustments in the short term”.
In Saanenland will subscriptions become more expensive?
Matthias In-Albon: “No, there will be no price increase for season tickets at Top4 or in the destination of Gstaad”.
There are talks of a power shortage this winter. Are you afraid that facilities will be closed and that snowmaking will be discontinued? Is there a plan?
Marco Luggen: Of course, we have plans, and we have formed a task force together with SBS, the Association of Swiss Cable Car. But there are still so many unknowns. The various shutdown stages of the federal government are known, but it is not clear what the guidelines will be.
Matthias In-Albon: “According to the numbers from SBS, cable cars account for three pr thousand of Switzerland's total electricity consumption. This directly correlates to a revenue of 800 million francs and a value add of six billion francs! If the cable cars are shut down, the economic damage would be enormous”.
How can cable cars save electricity? Where is there potential for savings?
Marco Luggen: “We are discussing various ideas. There is the possibility of driving more slowly, of readjusting comfort, for example, by turning off the escalators. But we are talking about electricity savings in the low percentage range. It's not the big thing, but we are trying to contribute with active solutions”.
If snowmaking is restricted, will it be a problem for Gstaad?
Matthias In-Albon: “Measures must be taken when there is a shortage, or rather, we must prevent a shortage from occurring. The snowmaking phase is from mid-October to mid-December, and the lifts are not running then. Saving on snowmaking is therefore of little use if the acute peak point – as calculated by the energy company BKW – is in February or March”.
One thing is for certain, winter is coming and the debate about a possible energy crisis is heating up. Talks of shutting off streetlights, lowering the temperature in private homes, shutting off the minibars and reducing the opening hours of wellness facilities in hotels, to name a few. Some newspapers are painting a picture of blackened streets and cold flats. Will it be as bad as they say, and will the only heating you’ll get be from the seat heater in your Tesla... before it also runs out of power?
BASED ON AVS/ANITA MOSER
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION?
What do you think about the issue of energy use and supply? Are you in favour of stricter measures by the authorities or do you trust in common sense? How can you save energy in your everyday life? Have you already taken precautions for an upcoming shortage of electricity? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org