Ringvaade: Ministers dealing with new lower temperature offices
Ministers and civil servants are divided on the new heating regime at the so-called super-ministry in Tallinn, home to four government ministries, with some reporting temperatures as below average and others saying there have been no issues so far, ETV current affairs show "Ringvaade" reported Monday.
The measures have been put in place in response to soaring energy prices, and see temperatures maintained around 19-20C, a few degrees than would normally be the case.
Minister of Economis Affairs and Communications Riina Sikkut (SDE) told "Ringvaade" that while she likes the warm, there was no real reason to complain with the 19-20C maintained in her office. "Naturally it has been chilly, unusually so, but we also have an unusual winter ahead of us. But let's look at what the Ukrainians have had to deal with, compared with an energy crisis in the case of Estonia; measures have to be implemented, while the public sector must set an example.
"There is no need to maintain 22C here; we can deal with 19C, although it takes some getting used to. I also have a meeting table in my office, where each person attending is almost like a mini-radiator," she went on.
"Then if it gets colder, I could wrap myself up in a shawl. So far, there has been no need to do that," she added.
Meanwhile over at health minister Peep Peterson's (SDE) office, the mercury is showing 20C.
"I can't tell exactly, but the meetings warm things up and by the evening the temperature in the room has risen three notices. I'm not cold, because I'm a winter person, but I understand that there have been complaints in the building. I've also heard that the incidence of illnesses has risen.
"I personally would turn back [to warmer radiator settings]," Peterson added.
IT and Foreign Trade Minister Kristjan Järvan's (Isamaa) office temperature is 19C, which the minister reacts to with a moment of levity, saying: "For perhaps the first time in my life, I am feeling the benefit of being slightly overweight, though I also understand the concerns of those ladies who are a little slimmer, where it's really a little too cold here for them to work at a reasonable rate."
Minister of Social Protection Signe Riisalo (Reform) says she is not cold, as the temperature at home has been set at 19C for many years. "However, this does not mean that those who are used to warmer rooms may not feel the chill," she says.
Even "Ringvaade" presenter Marko Reikop reported feeling his fingers numbing slightly after 20 minutes in the "super-ministry" building on Suur-Ameerika, while ministry staff and civil servants vary as much as the ministers in their estimation of conditions.
Indrek Laineveer, manager of the rail department said it was "quite warm" on his floor, two above minister Sikkut, while Julia Bergštein, head of the road service called it: "Perfectly normal," and not really warm or cold.
Tõnis Kalle, an IT sysadmin meanwhile says his hands are cold by the end of the working day, and social affairs ministry adviser Margus Auväärt called it: "Cool enough."
"However, we can manage. Instead, we need to look at what the general situation is; we have to set an example," Auvärt said.
Communications specialist Andri Küüts finds a solution in layering his clothing and even laying a blanket over his feet while sitting behind the desk. "On Mondays, the house is not as warm as we would like, but it's okay, we can still handle it," he says.
Minister for Public Administration Riina Solman (Isamaa) had also called for reducing the temperatures in state and local government buildings nationwide as natural gas, electricity and district heating prices, along with most other prices, remained at sometimes record highs coming into autumn.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mari Peegel