Spanish offices, stores and hospitality venues will no longer be allowed to set their cooling systems below 27 degrees Celsius in summer nor raise heating above 19 degrees Celsius 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 lights in store windows and on monuments after 10 pm. 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 per cent 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.
Bringing down bills for households and businesses
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.
Temperatures are forecast to soar again in the first weeks of August.
Europe is hoping to cut demand for gas
The EU is hoping to cut demand for gas this winter by reducing energy usage across the bloc. The goal is to bring down consumption by 15 per cent by next March.
For now, the reductions are voluntary but could be made mandatory in the case of severe shortages or unusually high energy use. Some countries have already started to bring in measures such as turning off heating at city run facilities like leisure centres and improving insulation on buildings.
In July, France also asked air conditioned shops to keep their doors closed or face a €750 fine. It was part of a package that President Emmanuel Macron has said will encourage "energy sobriety".