Monday Newspapers: Privatize the Forces, Import Energy and Keep the Lights On | New

Some people in Finland are considering personal loans to cover their heating bills.

Rising electricity costs are a headache for many households, national media reported on Monday. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

Mayor of Helsinki Juhana Vartiainen (NCP) says Helsingin Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that Helsinki – like other parts of Finland – is home to too few people of working age compared to the general “welfare promises” made.

Raising the productivity of city workers is one way to stretch funds, according to Vartiainen, who told HS he favors a pay-for-performance system.

The mayor also suggested the city should stop producing its own school and hospital meals as well, outsourcing the food instead.

“It is generally accepted that the motive of making a profit in private enterprise increases productivity,” he told the newspaper.

Borrowing power

Business Daily Kauppalehti (siirryt toiseen palveluun) reports that the value of energy imports in Finland increased by 141% in the first half of this year. Data from Statistics Finland indicates that energy imports between January and June were valued at €9.1 billion, an increase of 141% compared to the same period last year.

More than half of Finns say they are worried about rising electricity prices. That said, many people, especially those who live in electrically heated homes, adjust their habits ahead of winter.

Rina and Uffewho lives in an electrically heated house in Espoo, said Hufvudstadsbladet (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that they have made several changes to reduce electricity costs.

The couple said they had their dishwasher running at 10 p.m. and had recently installed a geothermal heat pump. Their townhouse co-op is also adding more roof insulation to all of its units to keep heat from escaping.

The major daily Helsingin Sanomat (SH (siirryt toiseen palveluun)) meanwhile talked to Juha Koskinenretired, living at 110m2 house in Lieto, near Turku, who said only the increase in the price of his electricity bill exceeded his pension.

While Koskinen’s solar panels supply about half of his home’s electricity needs, he said solar output dwindled as summer turned into fall, dropping to zero by November.

Koskinen said he may need to apply for a consumer loan to cover his electricity bills.

“It is very likely that I will have to go to the bank and apply for a loan. At least I am in a good position in the sense that I have enough collateral to obtain a loan. There are also people who will have to resort to payday loans,” he said.