October 3, 2022

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Einar Wilhelmsen på verandaen utenfor kontoret i Rådhuset. Solcellepanel på taket over rådhushallen.

Energy revenues save Oslo budget from crisis – NRK Oslo and Vikken – Local news, TV and radio

– No, answers Finance Councilor Einar Wilhelmsen (MDG) when asked if NRK is presenting a crisis budget.

But he hastens to add:

– We can thank electricity revenue for that.

Today at 1 pm, we will find out how the city council will use the 90 billion kroner budget in 2023. The city’s “finance minister” highlights four things that create a dark background to the budget proposal:

  • Ukraine war
  • Climate change is starting to show
  • The Continuing “Corona Economy”
  • Animal time – “everything” is too expensive

– Oslo now accepts more refugees from Ukraine than it did during the entire refugee crisis in 2015, Wilhelmsen says.

Kraft Saves Oslo: Without the power billions, Einar Wilhelmsen would have presented a dire budget. The town hall gets its electricity from solar panels on the roof of the town hall. They produce 125,000 kWh per year.

Photo: Olav Juven / NRK

2.5 billion in dividends

The electricity crisis affects the budget – for better or for worse.

With its ownership in Hufslund, Oslo is the country’s second-largest electricity owner after the state.

Norway Dams - E-CO - Aurland - Sogn og Fjordane E-CO;  District: Sogn og Fjordane;  Aurland local authority;  Vidalstammen

Money flows over the hill: Waterfall electricity from Vidalstammen in Ordal lubricates Oslo’s municipal budget.

Photo: Aerosport Norge -aero.no / E-CO Energy

The city council estimates that this year’s skyrocketing electricity prices will result in record profits next year as well. Estimated NOK 2.5 billion profit.

In 2022, the estimate is NOK 1.6 billion. The result is almost 2 billion.

On the negative side, the city council expects extraordinary wage and price growth – including electricity – to cost the municipality NOK 3 billion in increased costs.

However, wage and price increases mean more revenue for Municipality, including increased tax revenue.

Millions of power were generated

Einar Wilhelmsen expects the account to be in the red by NOK one billion.

– Roughly speaking, we can say that increased electricity revenues are eaten up by wage and price increases.

Because of all the uncertainty, the city council is also setting aside nearly a billion in various buffers.

They should be used in places where electricity costs are high, such as municipal housing and sporveen. And this is to take into account the increased costs for construction projects.

Tickets, AKS and Jobs

Despite the uncertain times, the city council has made room for investment. Here are three important ones:

  • Cheap single tickets on bus, tram and train NRK said about Monday. NOK 200 million is earmarked to reduce prices by an average of 20 percent.
  • Free half-day place in Activity School (AKS) for Class IV students from next academic year. According to Pinposton Saves NOK 100,000 over four years for families with children.
  • A work package of NOK 330 million over four years. The collection is in two parts. Summer jobs program for youth becomes permanent. And districts get money to keep those who are completely out of work life active.

Community Councilor Rina Marion Hansen photographed outside Greenland in Oslo.  Portrait, looking at camera.

Job portfolio: Councilor for Community Affairs Rina Marion Hansen (AP) wants more people to work.

Photo: Live World / NRK

– I am particularly concerned about young people without work and education and young people who are not registered as unemployed, says Labor and Social Affairs Councilor Rina Marion Hansen (AP).

– Getting more people into work can help reduce the huge social disparities in our city. In addition, we are making the summer job initiative permanent so that more young people will meet their first working life, he says.

To save electricity

An initiative directly related to the electricity crisis is to make municipal buildings more energy efficient. An additional NOK 174 million has been allocated for wnøk activities and solar cells.

The pot that residents can apply for climate and savings measures is proposed to increase from NOK 130 to NOK 150 million.

The city council has announced more urgent measures to save electricity. Pinposton Writing on Monday, the entire municipality has already been told to reduce indoor temperatures.

Beyond winter, it may be necessary to turn off the floodlights on soccer fields and close the artificial ice rinks.

Sunnyva Holmes Eatsvoll, Syrin Stave, and Raymond Johansson

Cheap tickets: Cheap single tickets on the router app are an important investment in the Oslo budget. Here are Education Councilor Sunniva Holmås Eidsvoll (SV), Environment Councilor Sirin Stav (MDG) and City Council President Raymond Johansen (Ap).

Photo: Olav Juven / NRK

Here are some more shots from the budget:

  • 25 km of new cycle track by 2023.
  • NOK 122 million for reinforced work with traffic safety in 2023 and 2034.
  • Free school meals in secondary schools from next academic year. Then 36,900 students in middle and high schools will be served meat-free school meals. Provision of free meals in primary schools has been postponed indefinitely.
  • Social assistance rates are increasing by 6.5 percent.
  • NOK 15 million for municipal housing buy-to-own tests.
  • Low cost resident parking in outer city to add more districts to the program. The fossil fee will drop from NOK 5,400 to NOK 3,200. A small increase in the inner city.
  • NOK 38 million for planting trees over four years. A target of 100,000 new trees has been set by 2030.
  • NOK 125 million to build the city Accessible to the disabled.
  • More money Nearby clubs.
  • Experiment with a 6-hour workday.

Although he does not call it a crisis budget, Einar Wilhelmsen does not hide the fact that it may need to be tightened later.

– There is great uncertainty about how electricity costs will evolve in the future, he says.

Prayer to Govt

He also has a prayer for the government when the national budget arrives in two weeks: that municipalities receive the promised money. Municipal Bill.

Otherwise, Oslo is in trouble.

– For example, in 2022, we will have received NOK 1.5 billion in corona costs, but so far only NOK 100 million has been compensated. We expect the government to fulfill its promises to cover most of these, says Einar Wilhelmsen.

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