Beat Allemann, Operations and Maintenance Specialist at BKW, and Jürg Stettler, head of the Simmental/Saanenland power plant group, are greeted by freezing cold as they step out of the small cable car cabin on the Sanetsch above Gsteig near Gstaad on this Thursday morning at the end of January. Every fortnight the dam wall of the Innergsteig hydroelectric power plant has to be checked for its condition as well as for any damage. That's what the dam regulations stipulate.
The two men strap snowshoes to their winter boots and struggle for 15 minutes through the untouched snow down to the dam wall, where they first check the plant components in the apparatus chamber in the control room. Then they venture into the dark corridors of the 200-metre-long dam wall, which is exposed to enormous pressure due to the water masses of the reservoir. Using a taut metal thread and a corresponding scale, the specialists detect the smallest movements of the dam wall. "If we were to detect a major deviation here, we would have to take further measures immediately," explains Jürg Stettler.