Sports facilities managers facing doubled electricity bills

The Männimäe football dome in Viljandi.
The Männimäe football dome in Viljandi. Source: Olev Kenk/ERR

Sports facilities around Estonia are having to manage increased electricity prices, but some are feeling better than others because of fixed-price contracts.

Sports establishments also expect gas and heating bills to jump significantly next year as fixed-price packages are set to change. This in turn will make upkeep and management even more expensive and could eventually hit sports enthusiasts in their wallets.

Foundation Tartu Sport director Eve Lill told ERR that the total electricity consumption was about €65,000 in December, more than double their initially planned consumption at €27,000. The foundation consumes based on an exchange price contract.

Lill noted that although the electricity price increase was expected purely because of the cold winter, they were most shocked by the €24,000 bill for creating fake snow at the Tähtvere sports park in Tartu.

At the same time, she said ski trails will be available despite high prices and the city of Tartu has promised to help the foundation with some additional support. "I do not even want to think what all this will cost in terms of electricity consumption," Lill said of potential electricity bills next year.

The foundation manager said they will first wait for the first quarter's bills, after which they will decide what must be done to save on electricity. Tartu Sport's budget for next year already includes a fixed-price gas package, which added €40,000 to the budget. The main gas consumption comes from heating Tamme stadium and the Tartu Song Festival arena buildings.

An indoor football hall will also be constructed in Tartu in the first half of 2022. Similar halls are actually being developed in all Estonian counties and although the domes are usually heated by district heating, Lill could not estimate how much the electricity bills for the buildings might end up at.

Fixed-price contracts to the rescue

Viljandi's indoor football hall is managed by the city itself. "We cannot say any costs were higher than anticipated," said Viljandi administrative board director Andres Mägi. He pointed out that it is the city government's job to look at energy consumption as a whole and since Viljandi sports center only consumed 75 percent of the planned consumption, there were no surprises in relation to prices.

The city has signed a fixed-price contract for electricity. "That is also the reason we are not as surprised as those with exchange-price contracts," Mägi noted.

At the same time, the city official said the electricity procurement contract, which lasts until the end of 2023, does not include the indoor hall's consumption and if it ends up being too high, the city will have to buy electricity at exchange prices.

"This building is a major electricity energy consumer and also a major burden on the existing contract," Mägi said, adding that the city will first await the upcoming spring and then see about any further steps.

Football association stadium renters looking at price increase

The football complex in Lilleküla, Tallinn, which consists of the A. Le Coq Arena and its surrounding practice pitches, which are heated from below, and an indoor football hall. The fields are managed by the Estonian Football Association.

Lilleküla football complex director Targo Kaldoja confirmed that the football association has been hit by the energy inflation. That in turn affects those connected to the association.

Kaldoja considers it likely that the association must find cost-saving measures next year, which will cause it to drop some investments. Additionally, they have already increased utilities bills for renters of A. Le Coq Arena. The football hall's rental prices have also gone up.

The football complex director said last year's total electricity consumption doubled from 2020 and tripled for gas from 2020. At the same time, he said increased consumption can largely be attributed to major competitions, such as the Estonia - Czech Republic European championships qualifier match last March.

Football corner flag (photo is illustrative). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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