This European nation amid energy crisis tells civil servants to turn off lights

Published on Sep 07, 2022 06:41 PM IST

Greece Energy Crisis: With energy-linked price hikes sparking Greece's highest inflation in three decades, the government aims to cut public sector energy consumption by 10 percent.

Greece Energy Crisis: Wind turbines are seen on a hill in front of a power station in Greece,(Reuters)
Greece Energy Crisis: Wind turbines are seen on a hill in front of a power station in Greece,(Reuters)
AFP |

Civil servants in Greece will be urged to turn off the lights, air-conditioning and heating on leaving work under a new energy saving plan announced Wednesday as a European winter crunch looms.

With energy-linked price hikes sparking Greece's highest inflation in three decades, the government aims to cut public sector energy consumption by 10 percent.

Greece's public sector is famously cavalier about energy usage, with lights often left on during the day in public buildings and on highways.

"This is a triple energy crisis... with dizzying prices in natural gas, electricity and petrol," Energy Minister Costas Skrekas told a news conference.

"For this reason, it's much deeper and harder to deal with than even the oil crisis" of the 1970s, he said.

Greece is the latest European Union nation to launch power-saving drives as they seek to reign in soaring gas and electricity bills and conserve ever-more scarce resources following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

As well as civil servants being urged to turn off air-conditioning and heating when not in the office, thermostats will be fixed at 27 degrees Celsius (80.6 Fahrenheit) in summer and 19 degrees (66.2 Fahrenheit) in winter, officials said.

Office lights should also be turned off in the daytime, they said.

State buildings and installations account for nearly 11 percent of Greece's energy consumption, Skrekas said.

Last year, energy usage increased by 20 percent in some 212,000 buildings and installations run by the state, he added.

The government last year spent 700 million euros ($694 million) just on the public sector's electricity bills, junior finance minister Thodoros Skylakakis told the news conference.

The plan also includes better monitoring of road lighting.

A study conducted for the European Trade Union Confederation this week found that soaring electricity and gas bills are becoming unaffordable for low-paid Europeans, costing them more than a month's wages.

The study found the average annual energy bill is now more than a month's wages for low-paid workers in the majority of EU member states, with more energy price hikes likely in coming months unless government action is taken.

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