Saving gas is the order of the day in view of rising prices and the uncertain supply situation in the coming months. Nevertheless, hundreds of gas lanterns burn in Berlin during the day because the city cannot switch them off. In the case of around 1,400 gas lanterns, the switching mechanism is currently not in operation, said the Senate Environmental Administration at the request of MP Christian Hochgrebe (SPD).
The light could be turned off. However, the lights would then also remain dark at night. Only with permanent lights can “the legally prescribed street lighting according to the Berlin Street Law be ensured at night,” explains the environmental administration – gas shortage or not.
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The fact that the defective lights do not disappear more quickly is due to a lack of workshop capacity, which is “not sufficient for this outdated technology”. The procurement of materials has also been “difficult for years”. The repair of all currently permanently burning lights will therefore “take several months,” said the house of environment senator Bettina Jarasch (Greens).
Of the 44,000 gas lanterns in Berlin, 20,800 have so far been converted to electricity. LEDs are already burning in 12,500 of these systems. With the remaining 23,400 gas lanterns, the country currently causes around 20,000 tons of CO2 a year. The costs for the gas amount to 4.5 million euros per year.
This is one of the reasons why the lanterns should be “gradually” replaced by LED lights, emphasizes the Senate Department. At present, about 1500 to 2000 pieces could be converted annually. But now, of all times, the project, which has been running for years, has come to a standstill.
Due to price increases with “limited budgetary funds” “the modernization program would have to be adjusted and various projects to replace the lighting systems would have to be postponed,” said the Senate Environment Administration in response to a request from MP Jan Lehmann (SPD). In many places in the city, this has delayed the necessary changeover.
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Since 2014, the state of Berlin has been procuring new lights in the course of tenders. According to the environmental administration, a contract with expenses of around 2000 euros gross for the material and labor costs for assembly and grid connection of 3500 euros each per location was concluded in 2021. But now the prices are galloping away. “It can be assumed that as a result of the globally disrupted supply chains, these prices can no longer be achieved in the coming tenders.”
Price increases of 40 to 60 percent are expected – without this being sufficiently taken into account in the new budget. Correspondingly fewer lights can be retrofitted. And something else is holding back the switch to LED technology: the delivery times for some components are currently “extremely delayed”, reports Jaraschs Haus. In particular, radio ripple control devices and light poles are currently difficult to obtain – and are also slowing down the program.