Nine swimming pools with more than 5 million liters of water will be heated. Electricity costs have nearly doubled at Drammensbadet, one of the largest bathing facilities in the country. Now the warning lights are flashing.
– We’re in a difficult situation. We should try to cut costs, but we should also consider higher ticket prices, says Christina Vinda, general manager.
After two years of low visitor numbers during the pandemic, electricity prices threaten to lose millions to municipal bathrooms.
– We cannot continue like this, says the pool manager, who will present the wretched numbers to the Drammensbadet board of directors in a few days.
– One thing is heating the swimming pools. We can have a thousand visitors a day, and everyone has to shower twice. Needless to say, it will be expensive.
It will not lower the temperature
In addition to high electricity prices, Vinda fears that people will not be able to visit the shower facility in the future.
“I’m excited to see if families with limited financial resources will be able to afford to use Drammensbadet in the future,” says Vinda.
– Can it be appropriate to lower the temperature in swimming pools or in the shower system?
– We discussed it, but I don’t think it would be relevant. We have a public and social health mission. Many people with rheumatic diseases benefit greatly from heated swimming pools. Vinda says that lowering the temperature while showering will degrade hygiene.
– In the first seven months of this year, we had as high electricity costs as they were in the whole of last year. Now politicians have to do something, says Kristin Annerud, managing director at Östfoldbadet.
She says they have taken several steps to reduce consumption, but that what they can do is limited.
– We will remain open. Anirud says the price hike is not relevant.
It has little to spare for politicians’ signals about giving business loans, as part of a package of measures.
We’ve been through a pandemic with lockdowns. We need support, not higher debt, says Anirud.
Energy-intensive shower facilities across the country ended up in the same situation. Some have reported quadrupling electricity expenditures. Others have already had to close their doors.
Fear of closed doors
– Of the 35 bathing facilities, only 7 are making a profit. Eric Schroeder says everyone who works in the industry south of Trondheim is now worried.
He is the Chairman of Badedalende, an organization of interest to those who run bathing facilities in Norway. Schroeder is particularly concerned about privately owned water parks.
– All major coastal countries are likely to head towards fiscal deficits in the millions. He says they will never cover this with higher ticket prices
Schroeder, who is himself general manager at Røykenbadet, talks about the stark differences in costs between the south and the north.
A colleague of mine who runs a water park in Harstad paid a penny per kilowatt-hour. He said I had to pay 3.27 NOK.
According to Schroeder, there is pessimism ahead The emergency meeting of the European Parliament on electricity measures Monday next week.
– I fear that more people will have to close their doors if no action is taken. Municipal restrooms may have to consider closing parts of the show. He says they have legal tasks such as rehab and school swimming.
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