The federal cabinet today adopted changes to the Energy Security of Supply Ordinance for Short-term Energy Saving Measures, setting out clarifications to the application and scope of the ordinance. The changes affect the short-term energy saving measures in force from 1 September 2022 until 28 February 2023. The government ordinance adopted today enters into force on the day after its promulgation.

The text can be found here (in German).

The following specific changes are made:

  1. Ban on illumination of public non-residential buildings and historic monuments:

    The ban on illumination of buildings is clarified so that it applies only to public non-residential buildings and historic monuments. Also, it is clarified that the ban on illumination does not apply to the illumination of buildings and historic monuments installed and operated to mark traditional or religious festivals (such as Christmas), even if this helps to light up the building.

  2. Restrictions on use of illuminated advertising installations/out-of-home advertising

    It is now prohibited to operate illuminated or light-emitting advertising installations from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. the following day. The time covered is changed and restricted to the period from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m.

    As already stipulated in the ordinance, the restriction does not apply if the lighting is needed to maintain road safety or to avert other dangers, and cannot be replaced quickly by other measures. Exceptions are therefore made for regularly illuminated advertising media at passenger shelters (or waiting halls), stops and railway subways which, for reasons of operational safety and public order, are to be treated as street lighting.

    There is a new exemption for on-site advertising which draws attention to on-site commercial operations during opening hours. An example of this is the illuminated name of a shop, e.g. above the entrance; this may remain lit up during opening hours even after 10 p.m.

    There is also a new exemption for illuminated advertising which operates during sporting and cultural events. An example of this is illuminated advertising banners at soccer games or illuminated advertising boards at cultural events during the event.

  3. Ban on the use of certain types of heating for swimming and bathing pools

    In buildings and private gardens, it remains prohibited to heat private indoor or outdoor swimming and bathing pools, including stand-up pools, using gas or electricity from the power grid. An exception is made if they are used for therapeutic reasons. Pools run on a commercial basis are not affected.

    There is a new clarification that private pools may exceptionally be heated to a small extent where this is necessary to keep the pool free of frost and to prevent damage to the pool. A private pool may be kept free of frost in order to prevent damage to the pool and, for example, heated to a few degrees above zero if the pool would otherwise break and there are no other ways to prevent the damage.