Ordinary Spaniards ordered to switch off shop lights but major national monuments will keep shining bright

Analysis: The regional government in Madrid has already announced its rebellion; Vox describes the new measures as "a new energy lockdown".
By Matthew Bennett
Aug 04, 2022, 3:00 pm

The Spanish government has ordered a 27ºC maximum temperature when using air conditioning and a 19ºC maximum when using heating, and has also ordered the closure of all doors to maintain said temperatures, and that shop-window and public building lights be turned off at 10 p.m. The Minister, Teresa Ribera, said in the press conference that the night-time blackout will also apply to monuments and decorative lighting on buildings, but not to street lighting or Christmas lights on the streets, and there will be fines for those who do not comply with the new energy orders.

The Ministry, however, clarified the minister's words to me this morning by phone: the new rules will not be applicable to monuments, and so Spain's great illuminated monuments such as the Royal Palace in Madrid, the Alhambra in Granada or the Cathedral of Córdoba are for now exempt from the night-time blackout order. Normal shops and public buildings must comply starting this coming week, though.

The Minister avoided talking about how the government intends to sanction any Spanish regions that rebel. The First Minister of Madrid, Isabel Ayuso (PP), has already rebelled: "On the part of the region of Madrid, this will not be applied. Madrid will not be switching off its lights. This generates insecurity and scares off tourism and shopping," she tweeted. The government has imposed the new orders until November 2023. "Sánchez says: Spain is switching off until my election campaign begins so he can show solidarity 'with the EU'", she added: "The answer is NO: he should reduce €20 billion in useless expenses from his 22 ministries".

Pedro Sánchez also encouraged Spaniards the other day to take off their ties to save a more energy. Opposition PP spokesman, Elias Bendondo described the new measures, both the ties and temperature limits, as "frivolous." The PP proposes extending the useful life of nuclear power plants in Spain, betting on biogas and using European funds to improve the gas network in Spain.

Vox wants to repeal the new energy decree, which it describes as a "suicidal policy" and a "new energy lockdown" that means "a new restriction of the rights and freedoms of Spaniards". "Spain is one of the large EU countries with the cheapest electricity thanks to the gas limits we fought so hard for," says Podemos: "The same ones that neither the PP nor VOX supported. Remember that when they start waving the flag again. We will keep working on lowering energy bills and curbing inflation despite them".

What will happen with the outside electric heaters on all the restaurant terraces in winter? Did the Energy Ministry ask the Health Ministry and doctors what effect the national closure of all doors is going to have on Covid infection rates, after recommending opening them all during the pandemic? What will happen when the new 27ºC order clashes with labour legislation limiting work temperatures to 25ºC? What should businesses like gyms or nightclubs that have a high influx of people moving energetically to generate changing amounts of energy during their opening hours do? Grand ministerial ideas to comply with European partners over Putin's invasion of Ukraine will again clash with the ordinary reality of millions of Spaniards next week.

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