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STR's role in the implementation by municipalities and associations of municipalities of business continuity plans (BCP) in connection with the supply of energy resources - by Roland Berdoz, Prefect of the Riviera district - Pays-d'Enhaut, Switzerland

STR's role in the implementation by municipalities and associations of municipalities of business continuity plans (BCP) in connection with the supply of energy resources


By Mr. Roland Berdoz

 Prefect of the Riviera district – Pays-d’Enhaut

Canton of Vaud - Switzerland



Faced with the risk of a global energy crisis identified by the International Energy Agency before the start of the war in Ukraine and following the tensions generated on a large part of the sources of energy supply from the start of this conflict, the The State of Vaud has called on its territorial network by asking the prefects to contact local authorities (municipalities and associations of municipalities) in order to minimize the negative consequences for our institutions of a possible shortage of gas and electricity.

The production of electricity by means of gas turbine is not a priority supply for Switzerland but its absence, combined with the numerous electric heaters necessary for the temporary replacement of gas heaters, would considerably increase the risk of electricity shortage during winter.

One of the tasks entrusted was therefore to ensure that all municipalities and associations of municipalities quickly produce or update a strategic document called a continuity plan or business continuity plan (PCA) or sometimes business continuity plan operations.

Municipalities and associations of municipalities were free to produce this document according to their specific needs; however, a model was offered to them by the canton.

Some municipalities have grouped together in associations of municipalities to carry out one or more public tasks, this is the case for example in the areas of water distribution and wastewater treatment.

It is therefore essential that these entities also take all the necessary measures to guarantee, even in the event of a power shortage, the water supply for the entire population.

This work has brought to light some shortcomings in our equipment, the most important have been immediately corrected and the last will be soon. For example, it was not possible to quickly find electrical generators capable of supporting large pumping stations on the market.

The objectives of the continuity plan are:

- Respond to federal ordinances and cantonal decisions in relation to the management of the event;

- Guarantee the protection of the population and employees;

- Maintain the activity at the highest possible level;

- Ensure, in all cases, the continuity of essential tasks by the advance assignment or reassignment of adequate resources.

Without going into detail on the content of such a document, which obviously differs from one entity to another, we can note that a PCA has the advantage of bringing together the following points in a single file:

Reminder of the general context, cantonal objectives and specific missions of the entity

Organization chart of the entity with contact details of any partners in charge of public tasks

Contact details and schedule of the on-call service in normal situations and in the event of load shedding, organization chart for operating the entity in degraded mode, location of emergency meeting points

Composition, contact details and location of the district crisis unit

Prioritization of tasks and inventory of those that must imperatively be maintained in a degraded situation, those that can be partially reduced, those that can be reduced to their strict minimum and those that can be temporarily dispensed with.

Definition of those responsible for implementing the BCP, communication on its consequences and regular updating.

At the time of writing this contribution, 257 municipalities out of 300 have completed their PCA and the prefects are still lending their support to help municipalities and associations of municipalities complete this important preparation phase.

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