Draconian new measures have left businesses bewildered
The Spanish government will reportedly issue huge fines for non-compliance with energy restrictions prompted by the ongoing energy crisis in Europe.
The penalties will range from up to €60,000 for minor offences, to a maximum of €600,000 for serious violations, Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported on Tuesday.
The government announced a set of measures on Tuesday aimed at reducing electricity consumption by businesses, citing "a real risk of a natural gas shortage during the coming winter".
According to a decree published in the official state bulletin, shops, department stores, cinemas, hotels and public buildings cannot have air conditioning set below 27 degrees Celsius in the summer, heating above 19 degrees in the winter, the lights in shop windows must be turned off at 10 pm, and access doors to the premises must close automatically to ensure air does not get out. Businesses have been given seven days to adjust to the new measures, which will be in force until November 2023.
Shops and hotels are unimpressed with the new measures, El Mundo writes, as heat indoors is the biggest complaint of customers during the extremely hot summer. The Madrid Hotel Association told the newspaper that the "exaggerated and improvised" rules may harm tourism.
The government says the restrictions are a sign of solidarity with European partners who may be "seriously affected" by a possible cut in Russian gas supplies. "We cannot afford to lose even a single kilowatt hour," explained Spain's Third Vice-President Teresa Ribera.
The EU introduced a gas rationing plan last month that would see most nations voluntarily reduce their energy consumption by 15% by March next year. Spain was offered an exemption, and can reduce its own energy consumption by 7%.
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