German cities are going dark and shutting off hot water to conserve energy

A decrease in Russian natural gas deliveries to Germany has forced some cities to cut hot water and ban heaters and air conditioning units. Berlin has even shut off monument spotlights to save energy.

Berlin announced that spotlights for public monuments, such as the Brandenburg Gate, would be shut off at night on Wednesday. The policy started with six buildings and will expand to affect “200 buildings and landmarks and their 1,400 spotlights over the next four weeks,” according to France 24.

While energy will be saved, labor costs won’t be, as electricians have been hired to disable the lights temporarily instead of removing them.

Berlin’s move came the same day that Russian gas corporation Gazprom announced that deliveries of natural gas to Germany would drop to 20% capacity because of issues with turbines in the underwater Nord Stream 1 pipeline.

In the northwestern city of Hanover, hot water has been shut off in municipal buildings for hand washing, showers and other purposes. In addition, these buildings will only be heated from October through March, and mobile air conditioning units and fan heaters will be banned.

Belit Onay, Hanover’s mayor, was quoted by the Guardian as saying, “Every kilowatt hour counts, and protecting critical infrastructure has to be a priority.”

German households may also start feeling the sting come winter. The Guardian quoted German economy minister Robert Habeck as saying, “We can’t say yet how much gas will cost in November, but the bitter news is it’s definitely a few hundred euros per household.”

Other municipal measures include Nuremberg’s closure of three out of its four indoor public swimming pools, and Munich’s move to shut off its public fountains and city hall spotlight at night.

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