Money crunch sees weekday blackouts in Oulu, Finland

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The warm glow of streelights will become only a weekend attraction as Oulu looks to save. (iStock)
The warm glow of streelights will become only a weekend attraction as Oulu looks to save. (iStock)
The city of Oulu has pulled another weapon out of its cost-cutting arsenal: officials have decided turn off street lighting during week nights.

The latest move comes as Oulu — and many other cities across Finland — grapple with reduced allocations from central government – also part of a state efforts to cut spending and balance the public purse.

As autumn skies darken, warmly glowing streetlights will become only a weekend sight in Oulu. City officials have decided to pull the plug on weekday street lighting in an effort to cut costs.

The city had previously reduced the number of hours that streetlights were kept burning, turning them off at dusk and re-lighting them later than before.

Light “curfew”

However the new decision on streetlight management means that from Sunday to Thursday streets will go dark between 11.00pm and 5.00am the next morning.

Areas where new long-lasting and energy-efficient LED streetlights have already been installed will see the lights-out policy introduced in phases.

Other cities have also adopted a limited lights-out programme, for example during the summer months. However Oulu’s decision to introduce nighttime blackouts in residential areas during winter is rare.

The blackout policy is just latest tactic in a series of actions designed to rein in spending. Earlier this week Oulu announced a decision to temporarily layoff some 400 teachers as a cost-cutting measure.

Related stories from around the North:

Finland:  35,000 people without power in Arctic town, YLE News

Sweden: Extreme weather threatens nuclear safety in Sweden, Radio Sweden

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