Danish local governments consider cutting streetlights to save energy

Municipalities in the greater Copenhagen area are considering dimming or switching off streetlights for part of the night to save energy amid soaring costs.

Danish local governments consider cutting streetlights to save energy
Six Zealand municipalities are considering cutting streetlight use to save energy, while others have rules out the option. File photo: Niels Ahlmann Olesen/Berlingske/Ritzau Scanpix

A survey by media TV2 Lorry found that up to six municipalities in its catchment area are considering reducing streetlight use as a savings measure. TV2 Lorry contacted 34 municipalities with the question with 11 responding.

The municipalities which confirmed they were discussing the option were Frederiksberg, Glostrup, Gladsaxe, Brøndby, Halsnæs and Albertslund.

In Frederiksberg, for example, street lighting is part of a proposed budget for next year. Calculations have found that a reduction of streetlight use by an average of one hour per day could result in savings of 300,000 kroner per year.

Three other municipalities – Fredensborg, Roskilde and Egedal – said they had no plans to change streetlight use, citing concerns over the public’s sense of safety.

Solrød Municipality said it already had the cost-cutting measure in use and had done so going all the way back to 2004. The local authority said it reduces street lighting between 1:30am and 4:30am on weekdays on low-traffic roads and in residential areas.

According to crime prevention council Det Kriminalpræventive Råd, street lighting plays an important role in crime prevention and public sense of security.

Roads, paths and car parks should be illuminated across their entire area, the council recommends.

“Good, even illumination is best, avoiding glare and without other distracting light from other sources. Bright lights do not give extra feelings of safety,” the council’s website states.

Several other countries are also considering street lighting as a possible savings area following the increase in energy prices, TV2 Lorry writes.

Streetlights have been switched off in Germany, Austria, Italy, France and Spain due to the energy crisis.

READ ALSO: When will effects of Russian gas shut-off be felt in Denmark?

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Danish consumers urged to keep conserving energy to avoid high costs

Although the price of electricity has recently fallen back from recent recent sky-high levels, it’s important that Danish consumers don’t return their usage habits to normal, energy experts say.

Danish consumers urged to keep conserving energy to avoid high costs

Energy prices in Denmark are currently lower than they were in the late summer and early autumn, but experts say that turning heating up to full blast – and generally scrapping measures to reduce consumption – will still result in costly bills.

While prices were high, many people in Denmark adapted their consumption habits in an effort to preserve stores and avoid high costs.

Public buildings and many businesses meanwhile implemented lower temperatures on thermostats, and power-hungry activities such as outdoor ice rinks or Christmas lighting were cancelled or cut back.


With the weather now colder, energy prices are currently low.

That is partly because Denmark’s gas reserves that serve as an emergency backup are full, while issues at European power plants that exacerbated the crisis have been largely resolved. 

The cold weather and lower prices may tempt many to return to former habits and turn heating up as usual. But this could still see energy bills eventually hit record levels, experts have warned.

“We will have to think about what we use our electricity and gas for and make savings where we can,” Jim Vilsson, senior economist at state-owned energy company Energinet told broadcaster TV2.

“Otherwise, we could end up in a situation where we again risk being short of energy,” he said.

Data from Nordic energy stock market Nord Pool, reported by TV2, show the unit price of electricity hitting 4.36 kroner per kilowatt hour (not including fees and taxes) in late August.

The price was 0.9 kroner per kilowatt hour as of November 20th.

Gas prices similarly peaked in late August and before falling, but are higher than they were in November 2021.

READ ALSO: At what time of the day is electricity cheapest in Denmark?

“Supply wise we are well stocked at the moment. We have got the European gas strores filled well up and they are actually completely full in Denmark,” Vilsson told TV2.

Gas stocks remained full further into the late autumn than usual, according to raw material analyst Ole Sloth Hansen of Saxo Bank.

“We have only just seen gas stocks be reduced and this was three weeks later than normal. So we have lots of gas, but we’re not home and dry yet,” Hansen told TV2.

Consumers in Denmark have meanwhile reduced their consumption by an average of around 10 percent.

“The market is a little better than it was before. But I’m putting extra emphasis on ‘little’, because it’s based on a situation where we expect a relatively normal or mild winter,” Vilsson said.

Increased consumption could help to push current lower prices back up as well as deplete stocks, he warned.

“We have been able to keep prices down because we have stood together and been good at saving. If we go back to normal, we could be in a situation again where we will lack gas, coal or electricity,” he said.

READ ALSO: How do I check my Danish electricity plan and decide whether to change?