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Switzerland - Gas

Energy from gas is obtained in Switzerland using both natural gas and biogas. Although Switzerland is connected to the European gas pipeline and holds an important position in the transit of gas into Italy, gas usage in homes has not been quite as widespread as in countries such as the UK. In urban areas you will come across gas-fired boilers but the use of gas for cooking is not common. Those living in more rural areas will not necessarily have a gas supply. However, household gas usage exceeds industrial usage and a continued reliance upon gas has been predicted, at least in the near future, until 'greener' alternatives can take its place.

Switzerland's own natural reserves of gas are small and the country now imports its entire gas supply. At the time of writing, local gas suppliers continue to operate a monopoly system but this is subject to change in the near future.

The process for getting connected is similar to that for electricity, i.e. in most cases the connection will be live a

nd you will simply need to register your details and the date you moved in with the local gas supplier. Tenants will often find the landlord has taken care of this. If renting, check with your landlord whether your hot water is included in the Nebenkosten or whether you will be charged for this separately. If you have a new house which is able to access the gas supply, or one where the supply was disconnected, call your local company to arrange the connection and be prepared to show them your property documents confirming ownership. There will be a one-off connection fee and you will also be responsible for associated costs such as obtaining planning permission if an extension to the pipeline is required.

Household gas is somewhat expensive in Switzerland and is said to be similar in price to household oil at time of writing, although is cleaner and more convenient. Bottled gas is uncommon, and the Swiss prefer electric and induction hobs. However, outdoor gas-powered barbecues and grills are available in Switzerland and propane gas tanks or cannisters are supplied on a deposit system, refundable when you return it.

In an emergency call your gas supplier. Emergency numbers have been given below for the current gas suppliers to Zurich and Geneva. If you live elsewhere check a utility bill, the website for your gas supplier or your telephone directory to obtain an emergency number. Gas installations must comply with safety standards. The SVGW/SSIGE (G: Schweizerischer Verein des Gas- und Wasserfaches, F: Société Suisse de l’Industrie du Gaz et des Eaux) is the body responsible for gas compliance and certification.

You will be billed at a flat rate quarterly and will then settle the end-of-year bill based on meter readings. Payment can be made electronically via an e-bill service, or at the bank or post office, or you may have the option to set up a direct debit.

Heating oil is in common use in Switzerland but is being phased out. With an oil-heated property you will need to arrange for the delivery of oil with which to fill your household tank. On moving into a property, you may well already have oil in the tanks, and should have either a booklet or a label on the tank which will tell you who to call when you need more. Heating oil is measured in litres and you can expect to consume between 1,000 and 5,000 litres a year, depending on property size, location, and how warm you keep your home. Prices are discounted for larger orders and are cheaper during the summer. Oil prices can be expected to continue to fluctuate over coming years.

See previous section for useful phrases for household energy bills. Household gas is 'Erdgas' in German and 'gaz' in French. Heating oil is 'Heizöl' in German and 'mazout' in French.

Useful Resources

Erdgas Zurich
Zurich Gas Supplier
Erdgas AG Zurich, Aargauerstrasse 182, Postfach 805, CH 8010 Zurich
Tel: 043 317 23 00
Email: kundenservice@erdgaszuerich.ch
Emergencies: 0800 024 024 (24 hours)

SIG: Services Industriels de Genève
Geneva Gas Supplier
Case postale 2777, CH 1211 Genève 2
Tel: 0844 800 808
Email: Use contact form
Emergencies: 022 420 88 11 (24 hours)

Swiss Association of the Gas and Water Industry
Tel: + 41 (0)44 288 33 33 (SVGW: Zurich)
Tel: + 41 (0)21 310 48 60 (SSIGE: Lausanne)
Email: info@svgw.ch / info@ssige.ch

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