The PP has asked the Government this Monday for the “immediate withdrawal” of the decree with the measures to save energy -approved to comply with the requirements of reducing gas consumption agreed by the European Union- and the Government of Ayuso has advanced that it will appeal before the Constitutional. It is the culmination of a week in which different leaders of the formation have spread various falsehoods about the approved regulations, they have accused the Executive of Pedro Sánchez of “improvising” with changes in the measures, they have related it to a decrease in tourism and consumption and have even linked it to greater “risk” for women on the streets.
The PP calls for the “immediate withdrawal” of the energy saving decree in full meeting of Government and communities
Made “behind the communities”
The Deputy Secretary of Organization of the Popular Party, Miguel Tellado, has stated that the text “has been prepared with the back of the communities, the territories and the municipalities.” Several communities –those governed by the PP, but also by the Basque lehendakari, Iñigo Urkullu– have criticized that the definition and implementation of the initiatives has not been coordinated with them.
Teresa Ribera met with the parliamentary spokespersons one day after the agreement reached at the Council of Energy Ministers in Brussels, on July 27, and there “the available information was transferred to them and they were encouraged to present proposals to address the situation” . On July 28, the head of Ecological Transition, the regional councilors of Environment and Energy met by videoconference. “In both meetings, they were given the information regarding their areas and were encouraged to present their proposals”, the Government has defended, which also indicates that Ribera sent letters to the autonomies and to the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP) in July. ) “requesting that they apply measures” in terms of energy efficiency.
According to the Ministry, they received no proposals on the plan from the communities. However, after the celebration this Monday of the Sectorial Conference on Energy, Industry and Commerce, in which autonomies and city councils participate, they would have promised to send them in the face of September. “In case of any doubt, we are in a position to respond and work together. All the communities have highlighted their willingness to contribute proposals”, he said at a press conference. Ribera recalled that September will be when the bulk of the measures to reduce consumption and strengthen the guarantees of energy supply will be approved. Communities will have until August 31 to submit their ideas.
“Improvisation” with the measures
Tellado has once again spoken of “energy improvisation” by the Government, just as Alberto Núñez Feijóo did on Sunday with confusing messages about temperature limits. But despite the fact that there has been talk of changes in the restrictions on heating and cooling to include exceptions in certain sectors, in reality the text of the decree has not been modified at any time. He always stated that there would be flexibility depending on the business and the labor legislation, as it is currently applied.
Same temperature for a bookstore and a frozen store
“Proposing the same temperatures to a frozen food store as to a bookstore, setting the same temperatures to a fruit store as to a clothing store is simply an improvisation.” The words were pronounced by Alberto Núñez Feijóo this Sunday and are another of the hoaxes that the PP has spread after learning about the plan.
But not all stores have to maintain the same temperature. The standard respects what the labor legislation indicates and, in addition, sets as an exception “those premises that justify the need to maintain special environmental conditions” or have a specific regulation that establishes it. For example, explains the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, they will not be applied where it is not possible due to working conditions or due to specificities of the sector, nor in hospitals, training centers or gyms.
A couple of weeks ago, Feijóo himself highlighted the importance of reducing electricity consumption at an event in Valencia. “The energy saving plans that set limits for activating air conditioning and heating in winter seem fine to me,” declared the president of the PP on July 21.
They ask for a plan “to lower the price of electricity”
“We request the development of an energy efficiency plan with a fundamental objective, something that the Government of Pedro Sánchez has already forgotten: to lower the price of electricity,” Tellado requested, later stating that July “closes with the most expensive electricity bill in the history of Spain” while “Pedro Sánchez is saying that the shop windows must be turned off”.
The plan to lower the price of electricity is already being applied: it is the cap on gas in Spain and Portugal, which for the moment has made it possible to contain the increases in its wholesale market while other European countries chain record highs. For example, with prices 35% lower than those currently in France.
The average price of energy for clients of the regulated tariff (adding the compensation to the cycles) was close to 250 euros/MWh in July, compared to almost 308 euros that it would have reached without the Iberian cap. The result, according to the estimates of the expert Francisco Valverde, is that the final bill of a typical regulated rate consumer was 115.6 euros in July, the third most expensive in history, but much lower than that of March this year (144.3 euros) and December 2021 (119.5 euros).
“The only shop windows in Europe that are turned off will be those in Spain”
The president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, has said that the “only shop windows in Europe that will be off” from midnight from Tuesday to Wednesday “will be those in Spain”. In France there has been a ban for years of lighting billboards and shop windows in cities with fewer than 800,000 inhabitants between 1:00 and 6:00 in the morning. In large cities it depends on municipal ordinances and the French Executive wants to extend it to all localities.
At risk “the safety of women” on the darkened streets
The coordinator of Social Policies of the PP in Congress, Marta González, said last Wednesday that there could be negative consequences “for women”, related to security problems and “gender violence and, specifically, violence sexual”. According to González, the decree would imply that “cities, shops and streets would be practically completely turned off.”
It’s not true either. The lighting of the streets at night corresponds to public lighting, not to shop windows. Only the lights of shops and public buildings that are unoccupied after 10:00 p.m. will have to be turned off, and the lighting of shops and administration buildings is not intended to light the streets.
What does the European Union say
Tellado has stated that “the EU itself warns that before applying restrictions, States must make an effort to exhaust all avenues: fuel substitution, non-mandatory saving plans, alternative energy sources, awareness campaigns…”. What the document referred to by the popular leader says – the plan ‘Save gas for a safe winter’ – is not exactly that. He indicates that, before imposing a mandatory reduction on “vulnerable customers, such as industry”, Member States should exhaust other possibilities.
That same document includes among its recommendations that to save gas in summer you can “reduce the peaks of electricity consumption” of the air conditioning. In winter “you can save [en consumo de gas] establishing reduced heating in public buildings, offices, commercial buildings and open spaces such as outdoor terraces, where technically possible and applicable. The role of public authorities when it comes to leading by example is key”.
There are measures similar to those approved by the Spanish Government in other countries. For example, in Germany, which is more dependent on Russian gas imports than other European countries, they have turned off monuments that were illuminated at night in their capital, Berlin. This is not the only case: in Hannover, municipal buildings will only have heating from October 1 to March 31, at a room temperature not exceeding 20 degrees.