Measures to save electricity in the country continue to provoke reactions, but overall consumption appears to be decreasing.
The historic Royal Palace in Madrid’s old town has been plunged into darkness. The exterior lighting of one of the Spanish capital’s most famous landmarks has gone out – and so has the magnificent facade of the Teatro Real, Madrid’s famous opera house.
The decision by the Spanish coalition government of Social Democrats and the leftist Podemos party on national electricity consumption is already being felt. According to grid operator Red Electrica, national electricity demand fell by an average of 5% in the first few days compared to the previous week.
Since August 10, when Spain’s energy-saving plan came into effect, millions of light bulbs remain off at night across the country. And this is not just about the external lighting of thousands of public buildings in Spain – the windows of over 900,000 shops must also turn off the lights from 10pm. Of course, due to the high electricity prices, many shopkeepers had already taken relevant measures voluntarily before the official decision. Now of course this has become mandatory.
And in air conditioners – every degree counts
The Spanish plan doesn’t just involve turning off the floodlights in shop windows and shops. Limits have also been set on the air conditioning of public buildings, business premises, offices and airports. “A reduction of just one point means a saving of 7%,” says Environment and Energy Minister Teresa Ribera. Therefore during the summer months the air conditioners can cool down to 27 degrees.
However, there are also exceptions to this regulation, such as for example restaurants and bars, which are allowed to be air-conditioned at 25 degrees. Exceptions also exist for hair salons, gyms and other facilities with sports activities, as well as for hotels.
In winter, heating in all publicly accessible areas will be limited to 19 degrees. In addition, to avoid wasting energy, entrance doors can no longer be left open when air conditioning units or heating are in use, as is common in many stores.
“Don’t wear a tie unless it’s necessary”
The decision is the first measure by Social Democrat Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to implement the EU’s natural gas emergency plan. This plan requires the 27 member states to reduce natural gas consumption. Most countries agreed to a 15% reduction. For Spain, which is much less dependent on Russian gas than Germany, for example, 7% was agreed.
By the way, during the announcement of the measures, Sanchez, contrary to what is customary, appeared in front of the cameras without a tie and with his shirt collar open. He asked the same of his staff. “Use the tie only when it’s really necessary,” he said, as this summer will help reduce the use of air conditioning in offices.
Ralph Schulze, Madrid
Edited by: Chrysa Vachtsevanu
Source: Deutsche Welle
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