Spanish residents are limiting heating and boiling kettles to shower as the country struggles with reduced Russian gas supply

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Natural gas prices have soared in Europe to record highs.NurPhoto/Getty Images
  • Spanish residents say they are changing their habits amid a national energy crisis.

  • Residents say they are limiting their cooking and showering to cope with soaring energy bills.

  • One citizen said that he was concerned things were going to get worst in the coming winter.

Spanish residents say they are limiting their heating, cooking, and showering to cope with soaring energy bills in the country.

A 61-year-old journalist, Miguel, told Euronews that national energy prices and inflation had made things increasingly difficult for him. He said the recent economic downturn had accelerated a decline in living standards that started after he took a pay cut a decade earlier.

Miguel said he had taken to turning off his electric boiler, keeping warm with extra layers or residual heat during the winter.

"If I want a shower, I boil the kettle and shower like that," Miguel told the news agency.

"In summer it's no problem and to be honest I've got used to it in winter, too. As for the heating, I live in a flat, so I get the benefit of the heat from the apartments below."

Miguel said he was worried that things were going to get worse in the coming winter.

Energy prices were rising in Spain even before the war in Ukraine, but Russia limiting its gas supply to Europe has kickstarted a substantial cost of living increase for residents.

For six years leading up to 2020, the average Spanish household paid $786 (€780) a year for electricity. Now the average annual bill is $1,382 (€1,371), the Spanish consumer organization OCU told Euronews. In August alone, energy prices soared by 65.8%, according to organization's data.

The government is also trying to preserve energy supplies.

The Spanish government announced at the start of August that air conditioning must be limited to 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit) in public buildings, administrative buildings, and shops. The government also restricted heating in these places to a maximum of 19 degrees Celsius (66 degrees Fahrenheit).

Another citizen, Anabel, told Euronews that even her regulated tariff was increasing at an unprecedented rate.

"The cost of gas and electricity is crazy even though I'm meant to have this social discount rate," she said.

"It's because I'm forced to be on the regulated tariff which keeps going up! Everything is going up! The weekly shop is now a third more expensive and then there's petrol."

Food prices are also on the rise in Spain. The OCU estimates that the average food shop is now 15.2% more than it was in August 2021, per Euronews.

Orlando, who lives close to Madrid, said he had changed his eating habits to accommodate the rising cost of food.

"I make a great big pot of beans and chilies that I grow myself and that does me for a few days," he said.

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