SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

ENERGY

Air-conditioning limits: How Spain’s new energy-saving plan affects you

The first part of the Spanish government’s new energy-saving plan to cut fossil fuel consumption came into force on Wednesday. Here's what you need to know about the main changes, from new rules for shop lighting to temperature limits.

Madrid at night
Spain's buildings go dark from this Wednesday. Photo: Armando Sorondo / Pixabay

The  government’s ‘Energy Saving Plan’, includes a wide-ranging series of energy-saving measures focused on public buildings, transport hubs, cultural spaces, hotels, shops, department stores and other commercial spaces.

The first part of the plan focuses mainly on lighting and temperature control, which includes the requirement for window lighting to be turned off by 10pm and for the air conditioning to be set at a minimum of 27C in summer and the heat a maximum of 19C in winter.

The plan comes into force this Wednesday from 10pm, however, by midnight on Tuesday and into the early hours on Wednesday morning, many of Spain’s public buildings and large department stores had already gone dark.

Spain’s Minister for Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, explained that the measures will be in force until at least November 1st 2023.

READ ALSO – Shop lights out and air con set at 27C: What is Spain’s energy saving plan?

Will all establishments have to set their air conditioning to a limit of 27C in summer?

It was originally reported that all establishments would have to set their aircon to a minimum of 27C, however, later on August 5th, Ribera confirmed that the rule to limit indoor temperatures is “flexible” and that bars and restaurants would not be required to set the aircon at 27C exactly.

“If a different temperature is set, but it is justified, it will be allowed,” Teresa Ribera said in an interview with Catalunya Ràdio. With regards to bars and restaurants, the minister confirmed that “the working legislation recommends the temperature to be around 25C,” she explained later on Onda Cero radio. 

Other places such as nightclubs, gyms, hospitals, trains, and buses will also not need to set the temperature to a minimum of 27C in summer and the heat to a maximum of 19C in winter. They are to be given slightly more flexibility.

Establishments that will have to abide by the strict temperature limit, however, will include supermarkets, transport hubs such as airports and train stations, shopping malls, public administration buildings and cultural venues.

The decree states that health and safety provisions in the workplace prevail over the plan, which sets a temperature of between 17C and 27C in places where sedentary work is carried out, and between 14C and 25C where light work is carried out.

The Spanish government has calculated that for each degree the thermostat is turned up in summer and down in winter, it will save 7 percent in gas consumption.

Which buildings will go dark?

From Wednesday night, according to the decree only shop windows and public buildings that are closed and empty after 10pm must turn off their lights. If they are open past this time, the lights can stay on.

The restriction does not apply to illuminated monuments, signs or billboards, meaning that icons such as Barcelona’s Sagrada Família, Madrid’s Cibeles Fountain and Seville’s La Giralda will stay lit past 10pm.

The rules will also not affect street lighting, so streets will remain well-lit to avoid safety concerns.

“The new measures will apply to buildings. The rules do not apply to exterior lighting, either street lighting, or lighting for ornamental reasons in places other than buildings,” Ribera pointed out last week.

The aim of the plan is to increase energy saving and efficiency, cut costs, encourage a move to more sustainable fuels and renewable energy, amid climate change and a volatile energy market caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

ELECTRICITY

The cheapest rates Spain’s electricity companies don’t want you to know about

Finding a cheaper tariff is one of the best ways to counteract skyrocketing electricity bills, but a leading consumer watchdog has warned Spain’s electricity providers are not always open to telling customers about the best deal they can get.

The cheapest rates Spain's electricity companies don't want you to know about

Like in many parts of the world, inflation triggered by the war in Ukraine has made the energy market incredibly volatile and sent household electricity bills soaring in Spain. The average bill reached €158 in August, an eye-watering increase of over 60 percent compared to 2021.

To give you some idea of just how much prices have risen in Spain, in August of 2020 the average electricity bill was €64, in 2021 it was €93, and in August 2022 €158.

According to recent figures from Eurostat, electricity bills in Spain have risen eight times more than in France and four times more than in Germany. Whereas the average Spanish household paid 60 percent more in August compared to 2021, in France it rose by just 7.7 percent and in Germany 16.6 percent.

The Spanish government has tried various methods to ease the burden on households. In June the tax (IVA) on electricity bills was cut from 21 percent to 10 percent, and then it was quickly reduced again from 10 percent to 5. The European Commission agreed to cap gas used for power generation at €40 per megawatt-hour known as the ‘Iberian Exception’, with the price limit projected to average out at €50 over the coming 12 months.

READ MORE: Spain to cut electricity tax by half to ease inflation pain 

The Spanish government predicted the measure — which will be in effect until May 31st 2023 — would lead to a reduction in household energy prices of up to 20 percent, yet it has done little to limit the rise of electricity bills so far.

READ MORE:

Unsurprisingly, many Spaniards are now seeking ways to cut down on their bills, whether it be by using the washing machine at certain times to take advantage of off-peak hours, or limiting their use of air-conditioning.

Another method of saving on electricity costs is finding cheaper tariffs.

Yet finding the more affordable rates can be difficult to do, and often the electricity companies make them deliberately difficult to get hold of. That’s according to Spain’s Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU), which have identified some of the cheapest tariffs on the market today. 

Understanding peak and off-peak

Spanish electricity companies offer different prices depending on the time of day you use your electrical appliances. The tariffs are often broken down into hora punta (peak time), hora llana (flat time), and hora valle (off-peak).

If you live in Spain, this is why you might’ve heard the incessant spinning of washing machines through the night in recent months. Nowadays many people simply wait until the weekend, when the tariffs are always off-peak.

So, if you’re thinking about switching, which are some of the best electricity rates you can find in Spain?

Repsol Tarifa Largo Plazo

According to the OCU, the Repsol Tarifa ‘Largo Plazo’ can only be found via this link, because the offer is actually hidden on the Repsol website. And for good reason, too. The Repsol tariff is among the best offers the  market in terms of price per kWh consumed, although the power for off-peak time is a little more than some of the other offers on the list.

The tariff is non-permanent, with a fixed price rate for 3 years.

kWh Prices

Price per kWh consumed: €0.17/kWh.

Peak hours: €29.90 per kW.
Off-peak hours: €29.90 per kW.

Iberdrola Online Plan

The Iberdrola Online Plan, which you can find here, is only available until September 30th, so be sure to take advantage of it as soon as possible.

Using Iberdrola’s online tool, you can select a kW rate and it will give you price estimates for the different values. If you’re environmentally minded, Iberdrola’s Online Plan claims to use 100 percent green electricity, so you can enjoy renewable energy and reduce your CO2 emissions.

There’s also 14 hours of savings during the night up until mid-morning.

This plan is only for customers who take out the contract online, as the name suggests, and features entirely electronic billing.

kWh Prices

Price per kWh consumed: €0.159353 + metered gas cost (in August €0.161529 /kWh).
Price per kW contracted during peak hours (fixed term): €30.66747.
Price per kW contracted during off-peak hours (fixed term): €4.104338. 

Not the prices will be revised in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) on January 1st. 

Octopus Energy

Octopus Energy tariffs are not permanent and is all done online, which allows you the flexibility to move around again in the future if you come across a better offer. Octopus offer two fixed prices:

Octopus 3: price per kWh consumed during peak hours is 0.254 €/kWh; at flat time 0.209 €/kWh; and at off-peak hours 0.185 €/kWh.

Octopus Relax: price per kWh consumed of 0.212 €/kWh.

kWh Prices (both Octopus tariffs) 

Peak hours (fixed term): €32.85.
Off-peak hours (fixed term): €6.57.

Iberdrola Special Plan

The Iberdrola Special Plan offers a 15 percent discount during the first year, and its kWh prices for both on and off-peak are competitive with other cheaper tariffs.

kWh Prices

Price per kWh consumed: €0.178662 (minus the 15 percent extra discount) but plus a gas metering cost (which in August was €0.161529/kWh.)

Peak hours (fixed term): €30.52381
Off-peak hours (fixed term): €3.512901

Endesa ‘One Luz’ Tariff 

Endesa is currently offering the ‘One Luz’ tariff, which offers a 10 percent discount on consumption and an additional 10 percent reduction throughout the first year.

kWh Prices

Price per kWh consumed: €0.189 (plus the 10 percent +10 percent discount) + the metered gas cost (which in August was €0.161529/KWh).

Peak hours (fixed term): €33.86.

Off-peak hours (fixed term): €7.9973

Total Energies

Another interesting option is Total Energies, who offer entirely personalised pricing plans. Basically, Total Energies want to attract your business by outdoing your current rate. In order to receive a quote and see how it stacks up against your current provider, you simply upload a copy of your current bill to the website and Total Energies make an offer, often bettering your current rate.

If they make an offer, Total Energies promise a discount lasting for 4 years, although the price on which the discount is fixed is only valid for 12 months.

READ MORE: 11 ways to cut costs as Spain’s electricity rates beat all-time price records

SHOW COMMENTS