German cities impose cold showers, turn off lights amid Russian gas crisis

Nurseries, schools, care homes and hospitals are to be exempt from the saving measures

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Cities in Germany are switching off spotlights on public monuments, turning off fountains, and imposing cold showers on municipal swimming pools and sports halls, as the country races to reduce its energy consumption in the face of a looming Russian gas crisis.

Hanover became the first large city to announce energy-saving measures, including turning off hot water in the showers and bathrooms of city-run buildings and leisure centres, The Guardian reported.

Municipal buildings in the Lower Saxony state capital will only be heated from October 1, 2022 to March 21, 2021, at no more than 20 degrees Celsius room temperature, and ban the use of mobile air conditioning units and fan heaters.

Nurseries, schools, care homes and hospitals are to be exempt from the saving measures, The Guardian reported.

"The situation is unpredictable," said the city's mayor, Belit Onay, of the Green party.

"Every kilowatt hour counts, and protecting critical infrastructure has to be a priority."

Hanover's 15 per cent savings target is in line with the reductions the European Commission this week urged member states to make to ensure they can cope in the event of a total gas cutoff from Russia.

Germany, which is more reliant on Russian gas imports than other European countries, is under pressure to lead the way.


In Berlin, the German capital, about 200 historic monuments and municipal buildings were shrouded in darkness on Wednesday night as the city switched off spotlights to save electricity.

Monuments previously lit up at night include the Victory Column in Tiergarten park, the Memorial Church on Breitscheidplatz and the Jewish Museum.

"In the face of the war against Ukraine and Russia's energy threats it is vital that we handle our energy as carefully as possible," said Berlin senator for the environment, Bettina Jarasch.

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