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Christmas Goes Dark As UK Councils Cancel Festive Lights

Skyrocketing energy bills have already impacted Christmas celebrations up and down the country as councils cancel light switch-on events.

As councils tackle ever-increasing energy bills, city centres will be forced to sacrifice some of the usual festive cheer this winter. The traditional Christmas light switch-on sees towns turn on their festive illuminations with market stalls, small fairground rides and musical entertainment. [bold, links added]

However, as families and businesses begin to struggle to afford their energy bills for the upcoming winter, councils are facing pressure to justify the cost of such celebrations.

Guildford Borough Council has cancelled its event with leader Joss Bigmore, saying it was due the council facing “significant financial challenges”.

Mr Bigmore added that the council “cannot afford or justify value for money for such an additional significant cost”.

Other councils including Budleigh Salterton in Devonshire has cancelled its switch-on because the council “could not take on the cost of the lights in the economic climate”.

According to Ely in Cambridgeshire, the council typically spends £9,000 on its annual event and can no longer justify spending such money amid the cost of living crisis.

Ofgem, the UK’s energy regulator, has set the new price cap at £3,549 starting next month which will see an 80 percent increase in the cost of energy.

Financial experts have warned that energy prices will become “significantly worse” into the winter and into 2023 due to pressures on the gas market.

Meanwhile, energy experts have warned that it is likely that the UK will have to engage in energy rationing over the winter.

Blackouts have been mentioned as a possibility this winter with energy rationing likely needed in homes, schools, care homes, NHS, shops, pubs and on the streets.

Kathryn Porter, from consultancy Watt-Logic told the MailOnline it is “very possible” that the UK will plan energy rationing, saying “it would be voluntary, asking people to make a small sacrifice to avoid blackouts”.

It is thought that households will be urged to not use kitchen and household appliances such as washing machines, ovens, and dishwashers between 2pm and 8pm.

Also, charging electric vehicles will not be recommended before 9pm.

These restrictions are already in place in California and Texas due to the strain on power stations and the global energy crisis.

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