Vidzeme says power saving measures are in place

The electricity prices have forced many people to pay close attention to its consumption. Municipalities have also drawn up different plans to save. In Vidzeme municipalities, most is saved by partially switching off street lighting, Latvian Television reported January 16.

Most Vidzeme municipalities are not affected by jumps in electricity prices on the stock exchange due to fixed price agreements. However, the electricity bill gets bigger in winter anyway, so solutions are being sought to save.

Valmiera municipality energy manager Mārtiņš Jānis Milovankins said various energy-saving measures have been put in place in the municipal institutions, both in terms of lighting and the use of electrical appliances.

"In Valmiera municipality, most of the [street] lights are LED, with associations also slowly moving to LED lights. These lights have the function that they can also be dimmed at night hours, resulting in savings. Where there are no LED lights, every third street lamp is switched off," Milovankin said.

The municipality of Gulbene said that the increase in electricity prices has had a significant impact on the amount of funds available to the municipality, and the idea of completely switching off street lighting in less populated areas was initially discussed in Gulbene, however, it was abandoned – lighting was only partially switched off.

Smiltene is similar. The municipality said there had been "partial disconnection of street lighting in places where energy inefficient sodium lamps are used. Where possible, street lighting at night hours shall be switched off altogether."

The municipality of Madona, on the other hand, currently only has a procurement procedure in place so that the whole street lighting can be switched to energy efficient solutions.

However, local authorities recognize that the situation with electricity prices has stabilized over the last year, although costs are high.

“Valmiera municipality is currently the second largest municipality, and the number of objects is also very high, the total energy consumption is 9,000 megawatt hours per year,” Mārtiņš Jānis Milovankins said.

The Latvian Association of Local Governments said most local authorities have entered into a fixed price agreement and there are no complaints about problems caused by high electricity prices.

"For those municipalities that stay with stock market prices, of course, that jump [two weeks ago] was huge; for individuals too. Even Ventspils – the municipality shut down festive decorations. Local governments follow these jumps, it certainly does not leave a positive example," said Gints Kaminskis, chairman of the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments

In view of the current situation and the fact that prices on stock exchanges can skyrocket, local governments continue to plan to maintain the fixed price, although they realize that there will be times when this type of contract can also bear losses.

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