Pitch black shop windows, unlit official buildings and monuments, no Christmas decorations, dim lanterns in the streets: Vienna is heading for dark times. what is known so far.
“Es wird scho glei dumpa” – the well-known Christmas carol could be more topical than ever this Advent. Electricity has become scarce and expensive. The brightly lit metropolis that never sleeps may soon be an image from distant days. Or better: distant nights. The Spar retail group only turns on the outside lighting of its branches during opening hours. Rewe (Billa, Billa plus, Penny) has also reduced the lighting in parking lots and advertising signs. “Further measures are being discussed internally,” it says when asked by “Krone”. Not only there. Dark business makes the streets darker Saving energy is a big issue for many Viennese companies, explains Margarete Gumprecht, head of trade. Brightly lit displays at 2 a.m. may be nice. But that costs money. Dark deals make the streets darker. Will at least the official buildings, palaces, monuments and churches be illuminated? That has not yet been decided. “Lights off” in Vienna with a more symbolic character “The City of Vienna is currently examining possible measures, in particular with regard to the duration and extent of the ‘effect lighting’, i.e. the lighting of public buildings and monuments,” explains a spokesman for the city councilor Ulli Sima (SPÖ). German communities submit and leave their town halls in the dark at night. What that means for people’s sense of security remains to be seen. According to the Sima office, “lights off” is more of a symbolic character anyway. In Vienna, effect lighting makes up one percent of the electricity consumption for public lighting. Street lamps consume far more. And the city has been converting to LED since 2017 (requires 60% less energy). According to MA 33, a good half of the lights have been replaced. The complete transition should be successful by 2026. Are the Christmas lights falling through due to cost pressure? That is decided by the merchants on the local shopping streets. Maybe it will be less than usual. “But I can’t imagine Vienna without it,” says Gumprecht. According to City Councilor Peter Hanke, however, Vienna “does not want to be overshadowed”. However, the Christmas lights will only be illuminated later this year in order to achieve savings, he explained to ORF “Wien-heute”.