Bavaria: When the lights go out in cities: austerity measures planned

Energy prices have exploded as a result of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine.

Bavaria: When the lights go out in cities: austerity measures planned

Energy prices have exploded as a result of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine. Not only citizens and companies should save - also all authorities. Bavaria's cities are looking at where they can reduce electricity and heat consumption.

Munich/Nuremberg (dpa/lby) - Colder swimming pools, switched off traffic lights and the reactivation of old oil burners. The cities and communities in Bavaria are planning a series of measures to counteract the rising energy prices due to the war in Ukraine and a feared gas shortage in the coming winter.

A number of municipalities have already taken concrete steps to reduce electricity and gas consumption in buildings or on the streets. Preparations are underway in other cities. An overview of the plans in some of the large cities in the Free State:

MUNICH - In the state capital, the environmental department points out that in the past the heat consumption in city houses has been reduced by 29 percent through structural, technical and operational measures. Street lighting has also been optimized for decades. The conversion of the lamps to energy-saving LED technology began last year.

The current crisis has led to the minimum temperature being lowered in the Munich outdoor pools and in the outdoor pools of the indoor pools in order to save energy. In addition, the conversion of the thermal power station north to gas operation will be postponed. The coal block there should initially continue to run with hard coal and possibly even expand production. "The block is very efficient and could generate more heat and electricity than in previous years," said spokeswoman Gesine Beste.

In other power plants, the Munich public utility would now reactivate two oil burners that had actually been shut down. "The oil reserves for this are currently being built up," explained Beste. The state capital is observing the current development closely in order to be able to act quickly with further measures in the future.

NUREMBERG: In the Franconian metropolis, the so-called municipal energy management was commissioned to draw up a list of savings measures. "The city council will deal with possible measures in a timely manner," said spokesman Andreas Franke. But the list is not yet complete. Possible measures are to restrict the lighting of historical buildings, to reduce street lighting or to limit the consumption of hot water.

Another approach in Nuremberg is to allow employees to work more from home in the future in order to save space costs. "Part of it will certainly be to campaign intensively again for energy saving in the city administration," said Franke. After the city council decision, the projects should be implemented quickly.

As a first step, the city will close three of four indoor pools from mid-July to the end of September. The opening hours of the outdoor pools would be extended during this time. The pool closure is also to be used for maintenance work.

AUGSBURG: In Bavaria's third-largest city, the administration has calculated that municipal energy costs of 16 million euros so far could skyrocket by around 80 percent this year. The city has now decided on measures to reduce gas consumption and relieve the budget. A crisis team has also been set up.

One of the measures is that facade lighting is largely dispensed with. Fountains are also shut down. Only the three monumental fountains, which are part of the historic Augsburg water management system, which has been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, are still running. The popular evening "magic lights" in the botanical garden will also be restricted, as the garden will now only be illuminated until 10:30 p.m. on Saturdays instead of midnight.

The water temperature at the Augsburg outdoor pools was reduced by a total of two degrees, and this will later also apply to the indoor pools. Street lighting will be dimmed in the future. As the city further reported, it is currently being clarified with the police whether traffic lights can also be switched off. In addition, it is already being considered which authorities may not have to be open as usual during the Christmas holidays.

REGENSBURG: The Upper Palatinate cathedral city implemented the first measures on April 1st. At that time, the water temperature in the pools was reduced and the intervals between rinsing and showering were reduced, said spokeswoman Dagmar Obermeier-Kundel. "The outdoor pools are currently only heated by the sun." Other measures that have already been taken include lowering the heating temperatures in offices and sports halls and the mobile work of city employees. In addition, switching off traffic lights at night and reducing outdoor lighting are also being examined in Regensburg.

WÜRZBURG: The Lower Franconian city is preparing an emergency plan that contains a whole bundle of measures. This includes, for example, lowering the temperature in the administration buildings or merging departments. Employees should be motivated to work more in the home office again. According to a city council decision made a few days ago, swimming pool temperatures could also be lowered and street lighting restricted in Würzburg.

BAMBERG: The Upper Franconian city points out that energy has been saved for many years, primarily through energy-efficient renovation of municipal buildings. For example, the Bambados indoor pool is particularly energy-efficient as a passive house pool. In addition, traffic lights and lanterns have already been converted to LED technology. Further short-term measures, which are now necessary due to the Ukraine crisis, will then be implemented. "The city of Bamberg does not yet have concrete implementation plans for this," said city spokesman Sebastian Martin. The further procedure depends on the framework conditions that are not yet known, for example what amounts of energy are available and when.

PASSAU: In Lower Bavaria, the Lord Mayor of Passau, Jürgen Dupper (SPD), has commissioned all municipal departments and subsidiaries to draw up proposals by August 1st. Today, the municipality cannot operate its facilities such as the ice arena, a sauna or the warm reading room in the library without restrictions. "For this reason, all areas are being scrutinized without restrictions," said the politician. Limited opening times and reduced room temperatures are conceivable. The Passau administration emphasizes that there will be no taboos.

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