Spain: Stores must keep doors shut, limit AC to save energy

MADRID (AP) — Spanish offices, stores and hospitality venues will no longer be allowed to set their cooling systems below 27 degrees Celsius (81º Fahrenheit) in summer nor raise heating above 19ºC in the winter under a new set of energy-saving measures passed Monday.

Shops will also be obliged to keep doors closed and heating systems must be checked more often to increase efficiency under the new measures, Spanish Ecological Transition Minister Teresa Ribera said.

The measures include switching off store window lights after 10 p.m. Street lighting will not be affected.

The government passed the bill as part of a bid to reduce the country’s gas consumption by 7% in line with the recent European Union energy agreements to limit dependency on Russian gas.

Ribera said the measures would initially be maintained until November 2023.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced the new package last week, saying, “You just need to walk into a shopping mall to realize that maybe the temperature is set too low.”

Spanish public institutions already operate similar energy-saving regulations.

The government says the measures will not only save energy but will also bring down bills for households and businesses.

Spain is one of the hottest European countries in summer. The country has already had two heat waves this year with temperatures often surpassing 40 degrees Celsius (104F) for several days in a row. Temperatures are forecast to soar again in the first weeks of August.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.