Entrepreneurs charge against an energy saving plan launched "desperately"

A bar with its doors open to facilitate ventilation against the coronavirus. / LUIS ANGEL GOMEZ | Video: Atlas

They criticize that the new government measures arrive without consensus, while warning that they will involve more spending and bureaucratic obstacles

Discomfort, uncertainty and, above all, a lot of confusion. The
energy saving plan approved last Monday by the Government has put the Spanish business fabric on a war footing.

Although bars, restaurants and shops agree with the need to save energy, they criticize that the announced measures -among which the limit on temperatures stands out, the blackout of shop windows after ten o'clock at night or the closing of doors to avoid energy waste - have been taken without consensus and without taking into account the geographical and climatic diversity of Spain.

Likewise, they criticize that it will mean more expense and obstacles for a group, that of the self-employed, which has not raised its head since the pandemic broke out more than two years ago. If for a long year and a half they had to endure restrictions due to the health crisis, now different ones are coming from the war in Ukraine. And some of them, opposite. Should the offices, premises and offices be ventilated as mandated by the covid regulations or should the door be closed so that the heat or cold of the establishments does not escape?

This is one of the many reproaches made to the Government by Lorenzo Amor, president of ATA, the main association that represents the self-employed. “Which rule will prevail? Who is going to control that this is fulfilled? Police? The labor inspection? ”, Denounces the also vice president of the CEOE, who considers that these measures are “hasty”.

The textile sector warns that the working conditions of employees will be below quality standards

"I see a very desperate plan, of course, and we are at a time when serious measures must be taken with serious policies," says Amor. In his opinion, it is "very difficult" for businesses to adapt to the demands in just a week and more being in the month of August. He warns that this will "undoubtedly" impact the group, which has not yet recovered from the pandemic and will have to assume more expenses, more obstacles and more bureaucratic procedures.

Faced with this, the Government argues that with its package of measures a new line of aid of 100 million euros has also been launched for the services sector. "These are subsidies to reduce energy consumption by 10%, which will be in force until 2024," they say from Moncloa. But for entrepreneurs it is not enough.

From ATA Lorenzo Amor points out that "there are places where the heating is turned on at 27 degrees, while others at 19 degrees turn on the air conditioning." He also criticizes that there has been no prior consensus with the autonomous communities and the different sectors. “When these types of measures are taken, they cannot be done lightly or desperately, all administrations must be counted on,” he warns.

Fines of 60,000 euros for those who fail to comply with the energy saving plan

Along the same lines, Eduardo Zamácola, president of Acotex, the textile employers' association, expressed his discomfort at the temperature limit, which "makes no sense" and will cause "discomfort" to customers. "And what is worse" -he stressed- will cause "the working conditions of the employees to be below quality standards."

In addition, he considers that the nightly blackout of shop windows will generate "a doubly perverse effect", since businesses will lose their "main tool" of "marketing" and "citizen insecurity" will be generated. Finally, he calls "completely absurd" the recommendation to remove the tie.

The uncertainty also reaches bars, restaurants and cafes. José Luis Yzuel Sanz, president of Hospitality in Spain, does believe that the new measures are “reasonable” and that the entire sector will comply with them without problems. However, these establishments are not considered within the group of those affected by the star measures of the new regulations. For example, they defend that their maximum temperature limit in summer will continue to be 25 degrees for "premises where light work is carried out" established by Royal Decree 486/1997, of April 14, where the minimum security provisions and health in the workplace.

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