Sunday, December 3

Public lighting in Madrid regains prominence with the first shop window blackouts to save energy

Fears of sudden darkness in the streets of central Madrid with the entry into force of the Government’s energy saving decree were exaggerated. From this midnight the order to turn off the night lighting of commercial premises and public buildings is operational, which as of today, Wednesday, will have to disconnect the lights at 10:00 p.m., but Puerta del Sol was not left in the dark and tourists and walkers were able to return home safely. In Madrid there are still streetlights, although their light is drowned out by the beams that lately are being emitted by the advertising screens that invade commercial windows.

Madrid will not propose energy saving measures while the opposition asks Ayuso what his plan is

Know more

The doubts of the first moment gave rise to misunderstandings about when the decree came into force. The president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, contrary to the measure due to its alleged negative effect on tourism, trade and security, assumed that the restrictions began “Tuesday night”, although technically they began on Wednesday at 00.00. In any case, to take care of their health, several emblematic shops decided to anticipate and turn off shop windows starting at 10 p.m. yesterday. For example, the Corte Inglés in Puerta del Sol, where an employee answered questions about it. “Ask the bosses,” he said with a shrug after leaving the store at closing. The security guard was also unaware, but after a few minutes the lights went out. The same in the Fnac building in Carretas. The Inditex shops on this street maintained the lighting, on the contrary. The worker of a jewelry store on the road explained after locking the door that the company had not given notice, although the lights usually turn off automatically at midnight.

The Community of Madrid has announced that it will appeal the decree if it does not decline or is altered in Congress for, among other reasons, an alleged contradiction with the autonomous law on freedom of schedules, which allows opening whenever the owner wants. This is how fast food restaurants usually do it, some of which open almost until dawn. Last night they were the ones that showed the greatest illumination. In the Primark clothing store on Gran Vía, the operators took out pallets after 00.00, and it was understandable that they did not do it in the dark. Further north, on the commercial Calle Serrano, which is home to several luxury brand stores, each establishment opted to turn off or stay on at midnight with no clear pattern. For example, on the corner with Goya, the Loewe store was dark. A few meters above, Lacoste’s gleamed. So on, without the greater or lesser luxury of the brand being indicative of greater or lesser zeal.

Looking for loopholes

It remains to be seen, on the other hand, how strict the Administration is in controlling the norm, but the first tricks can already be guessed. For example, in the discussion about whether the concept of shop window includes the illuminated showcase, the sign or the interior of the establishment itself. In addition, if in a classic showcase it is understood that the merchandise is exposed, in many cases now the showcases only show screens that announce the genre and the offers. The large animated advertising billboards in Plaza de Callao did not go out either, and the decree does not refer specifically to them, so a priori they are exempt.

Light saving was noticed in official buildings. Both the Royal Post Office, headquarters of the Community of Madrid, and the Cibeles Palace, which is occupied by the City Council, turned off the lights after midnight. In the first section of Calle Alcalá, with its succession of public buildings, there was less light, although not to the point that the stars could be seen in the sky. The monarchy also complied, on this occasion: the Royal Palace extinguished the spotlights on time.