Rising energy costs see German municipalities restrict services – report
Clean Energy Wire
More than half of municipalities in Germany have restricted services as a way to counter additional expenditure from skyrocketing energy prices, but their investments in long-term energy efficiency remain "completely inadequate," a report by consulting firm EY found. Fifty-four percent of municipalities have cut municipal services to reduce expenditure, compared to 26 percent last year. Cuts are expected especially in the area of energy: 98 percent of municipalities have already limited temperature in public buildings or are planning to do so; 51 percent have reduced or plan to reduce street lighting; 45 percent plan to temporarily close offices with low occupancy; and 31 percent are closing or restricting the operation of swimming pools. Surveying 301 municipalities with at least 20,000 inhabitants, the report found that almost half expect energy expenditure to increase by at least 20 percent in the next year, with costs rising above revenue. Budget deficits are expected by 59 percent of municipalities.
While municipalities have taken measures to save energy, efficiency measures are “still insufficiently implemented,” according to the report. “Saving energy by lowering the room temperature and switching off the street lights is one thing, but much more important are efficiency measures that reduce energy consumption in the long term or use sustainable energy sources,” report author Sven-Joachim Otto said. Only one in two municipalities plan to increase investments in building renovation, the report said. “The current measures are completely inadequate - the climate goals of the federal government will not be achieved in this way,” Otto concluded.