Bars, restaurants and shops to be allowed to set air conditioning at "around 25 ºC"
Ribera recalls there may be "exceptions" to temperature limits depending on working conditions
MADRIDThe Minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, has recalled there may be "exceptions" to temperature limits for air conditioning at work. In fact, this is what Ribera said on the day the Spanish government presented the plan to save energy: "You can incorporate flexibility depending on the working conditions workers need," Ribera said at a press conference after the council of ministers. In an interview with Onda Cero, Ribera gave as an example that bars and restaurants could set their air conditioning at "around 25 degrees", and not 27 degrees as the plan establishes.
"You cannot ask workers who must carry out significant physical exercise to do without the conditions labour laws guarantee regarding maximum and minimum temperatures," Ribera assured. Later she reiterated that, "if in a certain space it is justified because a different temperature is necessary, it can be accepted," in an interview on Catalunya Ràdio. The minister has indicated that the working conditions will set the standard and recalled that the plan provides for a differentiation between "sedentary and moving" jobs. It is true, however, that temperature control has raised doubts. The meat employers' association, for example, has asked that the 27 degree limit not be applied to butcher's shops.
As this newspaper explained, the Spanish government's plan wants to establish a limit for the use of air conditioning in summer (never under 27 ºC) and heating in winter (never over 19 ºC). This, however, will not affect everyone. At the moment it applies to public administration (offices, lobbies or areas of public use); commercial premises (shops, large shopping centres, etc.); in cultural spaces such as exhibition halls, cinemas or theatres; in some areas of the catering sector; workplaces such as banks, as well as in areas related to transport (train stations or airports).
On the other hand, as the same decree states, it will not apply where working conditions do not allow it. Educational premises such as schools or universities, hospitals, health centres, hairdressing salons, gyms, or, in the case of hotels, rooms, will not be affected by the bill.
Neither the Sagrada Familia nor the ornaments of other monuments will have to turn off their lighting after 10 p.m., the time set in the energy saving plan approved this week by the Spanish government. Next Tuesday, when the measure comes into force, only public buildings that are not in use, as well as store windows, will be forced to turn off their lights. This point has raised doubts so far, but Ministry of Ecological Transition confirms that, as stated in the decree, "at all times public buildings are mentioned, not monuments". That is, it would affect the Royal Palace in Madrid, but neither Cibeles fountain, nor the Sagrada Familia or the Alhambra. Therefore, these will continue to be illuminated as before. They are not considered public buildings because their premises are not occupied by an administration
The decision has generated controversy, since the plan is in line with what other European countries have done where, for a few days, the monuments will no longer be lit at night. This is the case of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin or the Colosseum in Rome, which will be kept in the dark off for a few days as an energy saving measure.
The plan approved this week and which will be in force until November 2023 is a first step to reduce energy consumption and comply with the commitment made to the European Commission to reduce gas use by up to 7% in the face of a winter which will be made more complicated by Russia's threat to cut off supplies. In fact, Russian gas exports have plummeted in recent weeks and now stand at 20%