The local authorities of cities and municipalities are also feeling the hot breath of rising energy bills and have to look for savings. In Zottegem, a ‘fire regime’ was already in place in which the public lighting was dimmed at night across the entire territory from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. (i.e. nowhere completely extinguished), but because this is insufficient to keep the energy bill for street lighting affordable, Zottegem is now entering into a partnership with the boards of five other South-East Flemish cities and municipalities (Bever, Brakel, Geraardsbergen, Herzele and Lierde) to from Sunday evening to Thursday evening between 11 pm and 5 pm to turn off the streetlights completely. In the nights from Friday to Saturday and from Saturday to Sunday, the public lighting will therefore remain on. In consultation with distribution system operator Fluvius, it has been decided to let this arrangement come into effect from next weekend, when a switch from summer time to winter time will also be made. In practice it means that for the first time on Sunday evening 30 October both the street lamps and the lighting of monuments and buildings will be extinguished at 11 p.m.
In addition to this intervention in street lighting, the city is taking two other measures to cut back on energy consumption. The temperature in all offices, meeting centers and other public buildings will be lowered from 21 to 19° C. The temperature of the swimming pool water in the Bevegemse Vijvers will also be gradually reduced to 28° C. It is also being examined which energy-saving facilities can be implemented in the longer term. in the urban heritage. For example, the opportunity is being taken to install extra roof insulation in the Castle of Egmont, which is currently undergoing restoration work.