The government of Spain has ordered all businesses to limit their temperatures and told shops to turn their lights off at night as the country scrambles to save energy ahead of this winter.
As per the decree passed on Monday, “Air conditioning cannot be lowered below 27 degrees in summer and heating cannot exceed 19 degrees Celcius this winter, while shop fronts must go dark by 10 PM.”
Same measures have already been put in place for public administration buildings, while they remain voluntary for households for now.
Meanwhile, Spanish Minister for Ecological Transition Teresa Ribera said, “The world is upside down, we have a war in Europe.”
“This is a special effort at an extraordinary time,” she added, stressing that the measures were designed to show the country’s “unity and solidarity” with EU partners.
Spain said the move would help it in the country achieve its goal of reducing gas consumption by 7 per cent- in line with pledges it made last week as part of a wider EU deal that is aiming to tamp down gas demand ahead of winter amid the looming energy crunch sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
EU energy ministers last week agreed on a deal that could enforce mandatory, bloc-wide gas rationing in case of winter supply shortages- and to voluntarily reduce gas demand by 15 per cent by March.
Madrid opposed the initial Commission proposal, with Ribera leading a coalition of mostly Southern European nations against the plan on the grounds that it did not adequately take into account differing national energy mixes, trade connections and levels of reliance on Russian gas.
Unlike many other EU member countries, Spain has a limited dependence on Russian gas, with only 10.5 per cent of imports coming from Moscow in 2020. Natural gas made up just under one-quarter of Spain’s energy mix in the same year.