Northern German municipality trials text-controlled street lamps

Northern German municipality trials text-controlled street lamps

A municipality in northern Germany is trying out a new plan whereby locals can turn on street lights by texting a number on their mobile phones.

German town trial text-responsive street light system

A municipality in northern Germany, Osterby in Schleswig-Holstein, which lies close to the Danish border, is trialling a new system whereby street lights remain switched off and locals can text a number to have them turned back on.

The policy has been announced as part of Osterby authorities’ attempts to save energy. Street lights will remain off between 10.30pm and 5am unless locals send a text to a specific number saying “light”, after which the lights will be turned back on for 10 to 15 minutes.

According to the municipality’s mayor, Thomas Jessen, the new policy is just one part of the town’s recent efforts to save energy. A few years back, for example, Osterby switched to LED-powered Christmas lights to ensure that local festive displays could continue without wasting too much energy.

Osterby street lights fitted with antenna

Osterby’s text-responsive street light initiative was developed by workers for the electricity board who decided that connecting the lights with an antenna was the most straightforward route. The municipality switchboard, which controls the street lamps, was fitted with a transmitting antenna that can be activated by a mobile sim card. After a text is sent to the card, the municipality lights are turned back on.

The policy has been in place for around six weeks. Using pre-energy crisis rates, Osterby authorities estimate they can save around 800 euros per year on electricity.

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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