The energy saving measures also limit maximum and minimum temperatures in shops. / Migue Fernandez

Most shops in Malaga have failed to instal automatic door closing systems to save energy, as required by the Spanish government

Many say they can't afford it, others claim it is impractical and some have complained that they were not given long enough to comply with the new regulation after it was approved on 1 August

JUAN SOTO Malaga

Most businesses in Malaga have ignored the obligation to instal doors with automatic closures, as decreed by the Spanish government as an energy-saving measure in August. The period of grace (until 30 September) has now expired but barely 10% of establishments have modified their entrance doors.

The president of the Malaga Comercio business federation, Salvador Pérez, has explained that a great many companies do not have enough money to make the change, and he also believes not enough time was given for them to do so after the measure was approved on 1 August.

Pérez said that it can cost between 3,000 and 8,000 euros to install a door which closes automatically, depending on the type of building and entrance.

“There is a real problem. A lot of business owners haven’t been able to start paying off their pandemic loans yet and now the government wants them to take out another one?” he said. “It’s not that we are against saving energy; we are the first ones to try to do that because we can’t pay our electricity bills!”

Juanibel Vera, the president of the Centro Histórico CCA, agreed. “In the historic city centre we haven’t been able to do anything about it because it’s an expense we can’t afford,” she said. She doesn’t believe the rule should apply to every business, because in some cases there are so many people going in and out that it is impossible to keep the door closed, and some premises are so small that self-closing doors cannot be installed. “The people who make these rules don't seem to live in the real world,” she said.

Financial help needed

In the region as a whole, the Comercio Andalucía federation has called for flexibility, time and help to comply with the new rule. Specifically, it has asked for funds from the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan to be used for a package of support measures for the sector, as more than 40% have been set aside to combat climate change and for ecological transition.

The obligation to instal doors which close automatically was part of a range of measures designed to save energy, which also established the minimum and maximum temperatures inside shops.

Heating is no longer permitted to be set above 19C and air conditioning no lower than 27C. Lighting in shop windows also has to be turned off by 10pm. These measures came into effect in the summer.