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Spanish Socialist Government to Limit Use of Air Conditioning and Heating

Gobierno socialista español limitará el uso de aires acondicionados y la calefacción

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The Spanish government confirmed on Monday that it will apply an “energy saving” decree from next Wednesday, despite criticism from the regions governed by the conservatives, headed by Madrid, which announced an appeal to the Constitutional Court.
The Executive, presided by the Socialist Pedro Sánchez, approved this plan for saving air conditioning and lighting a week ago. This plan has mandatory compliance in public buildings, commercial establishments, cinemas, bus and train stations, and airports.The goal is to comply with Spain’s commitment to the European Union (EU) to reduce gas consumption by 7%. This is amid an energy crisis due to the solid geopolitical tensions with Russia over the invasion of Ukraine after different EU countries gave up their energy sources to become dependent on Russia.

In general, the indoor temperature in summer may not be lower than 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher than 66 degrees Fahrenheit in winter. Store displays must be turned off at 10 p.m. every day and public spaces when they are not in use.

The decree, which will have to be subsequently validated by Congress, caused controversy in business sectors such as hotels and commerce. They consider that this temperature limit in summer makes it difficult for employees to work and for customers to visit the establishments.

Spain is experiencing a sweltering summer this year, with several consecutive weeks of daytime temperatures of around 104  degrees Fahrenheit in much of the country.

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Conservatives call for the withdrawal of the plan

The plan also sparked opposition from the conservative Popular Party (PP), the main opposition party, which accused the government of not debating and agreeing on the savings measures with those affected and the regional administrations.

The regions governed by the PP called on Monday to withdraw the decree. Still, Minister Ribera replied that the Government has no intention of withdrawing or postponing it due to Spain’s commitment to the EU.

Ribera and the Minister of Industry, Reyes Maroto, met today with the heads of Energy of all the regions to discuss the matter. No one attending that telematic meeting said that they would not comply with the plan, the Minister of Ecological Transition told the press.

She indicated that the measures are “immediate,” are in line with the recommendations of the EU to ensure the energy supply this winter, and the Government is “respectful” of the decision-making and management competencies of the Spanish regions.

The most well-known opposition to the decree is that of the Community of Madrid, which criticizes the Executive for its “closed-mindedness” and will file an appeal of unconstitutionality in defense of its competencies. “Madrid will not turn off”, warned the President of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, when she learned of the content of the decree.

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