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Danes change habits to cut energy use at home by over 12 percent

People living in Denmark reduced their electricity consumption by 12.2 percent in September compared to a year earlier.

Danes change habits to cut energy use at home by over 12 percent
Switching off unused freezers is one of a number of methods by which Danes may have cut their electricity consumption. File photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

Private energy consumption figures from state company Energinet, reported by newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad, show that 12.2 percent less electricity was used last month compared to September 2021.

Additionally, the total energy consumption by private homes was just under 9 percent lower in the first 8 months of this year compared to 2021.

“Danes are saving electricity especially at the times of day when it is most expensive,” Jesper Kronborg Jensen, senior business developer with Energinet, told Kristeligt Dagblad.

Consumption has primarily fallen during daytime hours and less so during the night.

Energinet only measures production and consumption and cannot therefore give precise reasons for the change in consumption habits.

But the drop-off is likely because Danes have begun using high-power appliances like dishwashers and washing machines at night, when the cost of electricity is lower, Jensen said. Charging of electric vehicles follow the same pattern, he said.

“Consumption in the private sector has fallen, but mostly in the daytime. It has not fallen significantly at night. And that is probably because Danes are washing clothes and charging their electric cars at the times of day when electricity is cheapest,” he said.

“In my time at Energinet we have not seen the curve of consumption swing as much as it is doing now. It’s an interesting trend,” he said.

Many people in Denmark have sought to reduce their electricity consumption to offset increasing prices of energy and heating, which are expected to persist this winter.

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An expert from Aalborg University pointed to other areas in which savings may have been made in comments to Kristeligt Dagblad.

“I also think that some people have looked around and looked at whether they have redundant appliances that are eating up power. For example, an extra chest freezer,” Kirsten Gram-Hanssen, professor at the university’s Department of the Built Environment, said.

But she noted that energy saving is less straightforward for some households than others.

Families with small children might find it “impossible to wash clothes at night and hang it up in the morning, because they have to be out of the door,” she noted.

“There are some people who have a better understanding of the electricity market than others. It makes a difference if you can navigate it,” she said.

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COST OF LIVING

Danish national bank says wage increases will keep inflation high

Thousands of people who work in Denmark are set to receive wage increases under new collective bargaining agreements, but the flip side for private finances is a likely knock-on effect maintaining inflation.

Danish national bank says wage increases will keep inflation high

Wage increases given to people under the Danish labour system in 2023 and 2024 could help to keep inflation levels up, according to a new forecast by the Danish central bank, Nationalbanken, published on Tuesday.

The central bank publishes two forecasts each year for expected developments in the Danish economy.

“Inflation in Denmark is expected to come down significantly during 2023 as the inflation pressure driven by global conditions eases,” the bank stated.

“But that will be replaced by an inflation pressure driven by domestic circumstances resulting from higher wage increases,” it wrote in the forecast.

Collective bargaining agreements between employer confederations and trade unions this spring are likely to see wage increases for workers across sectors, due to higher living costs connected to inflation.

READ ALSO: Danish store workers get pay rise in new bargaining agreement 

Inflation is predicted to finish at 4 percent for the whole of 2023. That is lower than the inflation rate for the whole of 2022.

Next, inflation will reach 3.6 percent for the year according to the new forecast. This is higher than the figure given for 2024 in the previous forecast, which was 1.7 percent.

Core inflation or kerneinflation, a measure of inflation which does not account for the price of energy and raw food materials, is expected increase as a result of the wage rises.

The measure is predicted to end at 6.2 percent this year and 4.3 percent next year.

The central bank called for political measures to keep a rein on inflation.

“At the current time, Denmark and the eurozone have largely the same challenges in relation to bringing down inflation with an outlook of wage increases which are not compatible with stable, low inflation in the long term,” the bank writes.

“Potential new financial policy that increase capacity strain on the economy should, as a minimum, be responded to with measures that ease the strain in other areas,” it said.

The risk of inflation taking hold in a spiralling increase of prices and wages still exists, the central bank argues. As such, it advocates political intervention should the risk increase.

In such a spiral, higher wages result in higher costs for companies, which raise their prices, meaning consumers need renewed wage increases to maintain their purchasing power.

READ ALSO: Will falling inflation in Denmark mean lower living costs?

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