From midnight on Tuesday, 9 August, air conditioning in certain buildings must be set no lower than 27C and lights in shop windows will have to be turned off at 10 o'clock every night. This is because the first two parts of the government's energy-saving plan, which was approved last week, are coming into force, despite opposition from political opponents and criticism from some sectors who fear the measures will have a negative effect on their businesses.
What this means is that from Wednesday and until 1 November 2023, thermostats in public buildings, shops and department stores, airports, railway and bus stations, cultural venues and communal areas of hotels can be set no lower than 27C in summer, and the heating cannot be set above 19C in winter.
This regulation does not apply to restaurants or gyms, because the Minister for Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, said last week that the temperature restriction can be applied “with flexibility” to comply with labour legislation as this takes precedence over the Royal Decree, and it allows temperatures of 25C in workplaces where there is continuous movement. Also exempt are health centres, training centres, hairdressers, launderettes and means of transport (trains, planes, ships etc).
From 2 September, places where the temperature limits do apply will also have to put up informative signs about the measures that are being applied and their thermometers must be visible to users.
Also from this Wednesday, the lights in shop windows and unoccupied public buildings must be turned off at 10pm at the latest, although decorative lighting on monuments is exempt from the rule unless they are unoccupied public buildings.
Under the new regulations 30 September is the final day to comply with the third main part of the plan: business will have to have a door closure system by then, to avoid wasting energy.
There are still some doubts about penalties for people who fail to comply with the measures, although sources at the Ministries of Industry and the Economy have indicated that they will be the same as those under the regulations for thermal installations in buildings.
These stipulate fines of up to 60,000 euros for minor infringements, up to six million euros for serious offences and 100 million euros for very serious offences. The same sources have also said they believe any infringements are likely to be considered minor.