Estradas de Portugal and the Great Portuguese Road Blackout

Faced with an annual electricity bill of well over a million euros, Estradas de Portugal (EP) have come up with a novel idea: they’re going to switch off the lights… But before any of us worry that this could cause accidents in the gathering gloom, not a bit of it. The national road authority responsible for 14,500 kilometres of highways says it has done an exhaustive “security study” and discovered that 80% of accidents take place in daylight hours, and those that do take place at night only end up causing “light injuries”!

In an illuminating press release, EP reveal they have a number of plans up their sleeve to save on electricity. Aside from switching off altogether – this applies to roads “where traffic is almost nonexistent”, says the press release – they will start reducing the number of hours that lights are on. They will also opt for a “one on, one off” policy, use energy-saving equipment and upgrade the reflective nature of traffic signs.

The hope is that all these ploys will “significantly reduce, in a rational way, the current costs in public illumination”.

EP add that the “objective is a saving in the order of 20% by 2020” and that this is in line with the coalition government’s cost-cutting policies.