MADRID, July 21 (Reuters) – The Spanish government will not order consumers to limit their gas consumption, Energy Minister Teresa Ribera said on Thursday, after Spain said it would oppose a European Union proposal to cut gas usage.
“We will not introduce in a law an obligation to set the temperature of homes’ thermostats,” she said in an interview on local radio Cadena SER. The government would recommend people save energy, though, she said.
She added the government would protect industries’ gas consumption too.
On Wednesday, the minister said her government would oppose a European Union proposal to cut gas usage as the country does not depend on Russian gas after it has made efforts to invest in gas storage and gas liquefaction infrastructure in the past.
“The logic says that if our role in terms of solidarity is to be the reference in gas storage and re-exporting it is absurd to think we have capacity to reduce in absolute terms our gas imports,” Ribera said.
The European Commission proposed a voluntary target for all EU countries to cut gas use by 15% from August to March, compared with their average consumption in the same period during 2016-2021.
The proposal would enable Brussels to make the target mandatory in a supply emergency, if the EU declares a substantial risk of severe gas shortages due to Moscow further restricting supplies to Europe.
Several countries such as Austria, Germany and Denmark have said they are considering emergency plans that would ultimately entail gas rationning.
The EU plan has faced resistance from other member countries including Poland and Hungary.