Athens will replace 42,000 street lights with more efficient LEDs, Source: John Koliogiannis / Unsplash

This winter, Athens will not turn off street lights to save energy

This winter, Athens will not turn off street lights to save energy

Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis said that keeping the lights on is not a matter of luxury, but a matter of security

As September rolls in, more and more cities are announcing savings schemes to help conserve energy for heating in the winter. Many of those have to do with cutting lighting of monuments and historic buildings, street lights, as well as turning down the thermostat in municipal buildings.

In the case of Athens, however, yesterday Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis announced that the city will not turn off street lights in its neighbourhoods. According to an interview on the TV channel ANT1, Bakoyannis said that keeping the lights on is not a luxury but a matter of security and this is an area where Athens cannot afford to compromise.

Additionally, he made a point of saying that the Greek capital will not increase municipal taxes, because citizens are already overburdened with the cost of living crisis.

He continued by explaining that the challenge for city authorities now is to continue to deliver the usual services with fewer resources while maintaining a good financial balance. Mayor Bakoyannis pointed to the financial crisis as the opposite example, saying that the current situation is not an ‘alibi’ for the city’s mismanagement.

Athens’ energy savings plan

A key feature of the plan is a municipal project to install 42,000 LED lights, replacing many of the existing street lights in the city. The Mayor stressed that this is a very significant feature, as it will, first and foremost, bring costs for street lights down.

He also emphasised that people would certainly feel the effects on their own bills. Additionally, this will allow Athens to control its lighting system. Previously, the street lights in the city were managed by DEDDIE, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator.

Now, the municipality will have the freedom to decide whether a square or a road, for instance, should have more or less light. Also, they will not have to wait for special signals on light-infrastructure issues, the city will have the onus to respond, but also the freedom to do so.

Furthermore, the municipality has introduced the Thermostat programme, a national measure in Greece, that is supposed to reduce consumption by 15% to 20%. Under the Thermostat programme, air conditioners and heaters should be set to a constant temperature, as this conserves more energy.

For the summer, the temperature is 26 degrees, for the winter – 19. Moreover, the heating should be turned off when there are no workers at a particular worksite. Likewise, electronic devices will turn off when not in use.



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