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Monday's papers: Privatising forces, energy imports and keeping the lights on

Some people in Finland are considering personal loans to cover their heating bills.

Rising electricity costs are a headache for many households, domestic news outlets report on Monday. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

Helsinki Mayor Juhana Vartiainen (NCP) told Helsingin Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that Helsinki—like other parts of Finland—is home to too few working age people in relation to general "welfare promises" made.

Boosting productivity among city workers is one way to stretch funds, according to Vartiainen, who told HS that he favoured a performance pay system.

The mayor also suggested the city should also stop producing its own school and hospital meals, outsourcing the food instead.

"It's generally acknowledged that the motive to turn a profit in a privately-owned business raises productivity," he told the paper.

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Borrowing power

Business daily Kauppalehti (siirryt toiseen palveluun) reports that the value of energy imports in Finland grew by 141 percent during the first half of this year. Statistics Finland's data indicates that energy imports between January and June were valued at 9.1 billion euros, representing a 141 percent increase over the same period last year.

More than half of Finns meanwhile say they worry about the rising price of electricity. That said, many people, particularly those living in electrically heated homes, are adjusting their habits ahead of winter.

Riina and Uffe, who live in an electrically heated home in Espoo, told Hufvudstadsbladet (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that they've made several changes to keep electricity costs down.

The couple said they run their dishwasher at 10pm and recently installed a geothermal heat pump. Their row-house co-op is also adding more roof insulation to all of its units to prevent heat from escaping.

The leading daily Helsingin Sanomat (HS (siirryt toiseen palveluun)) meanwhile talked to Juha Koskinen, a retiree, living in a 110m2 house in Lieto, near Turku, who said that just the price increase in his electricity bill exceeded his pension.

While Koskinen's solar panels cover around half of his home's electricity needs, he said solar output diminishes as summer turns to autumn, dropping to zero by November.

Koskinen said he may have to seek a consumer loan to cover his electricity bills.

"It's very likely I'll need to go to the bank and ask for a loan. At least I'm in a good position in the sense that I have enough collateral to get a loan. There's also people who will have to resort to payday loans," he said.

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