Public sector wastefulness targeted

Government announces carrot-and-stick measures aimed at the civil service to save energy

Public sector wastefulness targeted

Targeting the wasteful habits of the public sector, specific reward and penalty measures were announced on Wednesday as part of energy saving initiatives.

Indicatively, in 2021, the public sector used 700 million euros’ worth of electricity.

This year, and with four more months to go, it is estimated that the cost of the public sector’s electricity usage will exceed 1 billion euros.

“When we say that the cost of the kilowatt-hour has gone up 12-14 times, it is like saying that we are paying 10 euros a liter for petrol,” Deputy Finance Minister Theodoros Skylakakis said during the presentation of the government’s measures to achieve a reduction in the energy wastefulness of the public sector.

In a joint ministerial decision issued two months ago, the government called for savings of 10% from the entire public sector, its institutions and local authorities. But these measures have not been fully implemented.

In response, Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas, Skylakakis and Interior Minister Makis Voridis announced specific rewards and penalty measures on Wednesday to ensure the implementation of energy saving measures. 

Indicatively, the decision two months ago had stipulated the appointment of an energy manager at all public bodies. Alas, out of a total of 2,495 bodies, only 221 have appointed an energy manager as required. 

The percentage of savings will be measured with a reference year of 2019, based on the comparison of consumption through bills. 

As far as municipalities are concerned, the 10% energy reduction is a binding target especially as regards street lighting. If this target is not met, they will not be provided with financial support to cover increased energy costs. The state will not provide money for the inflated bills in the second half of 2022 as it did in the first half, Skylakakis clarified. 

For those government departments that have been provided with a bonus (which employees and supervisors receive), a target will be added to achieve a 10% reduction in electricity consumption in the last quarter of the year (compared to the same period last year).

Those services that achieve a 15% reduction in energy consumption – i.e. 5% above the target – will receive the corresponding funds in their budget for the following year. 

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