Spain’s bars go dark joining energy protest

More than 25 cities participated in the “symbolic blackout”

Hundreds of hotels, bars and restaurants in Spain turned off lights for five minutes in a protest that aimed to communicate the financial pressures of rising energy costs on businesses.

A group of 28 cities business associations staged protests leaving customers and staff in the dark.

Data released by the Spanish hotel industry shows that the average monthly energy bill of a restaurant can currently range between €3,000 (£2,619) and €6,000 (£5,238), depending on the size and the services provided.

Specifically, for hotels in some of the most popular cities for tourists, the percentage increase in the electricity bill could be between 200-400% on average.

It is estimated that energy represents nearly 20% of the costs of a hospitality business.

Francisco Martinez Berges, President of the association Hosteleria Rioja, commented: “We are very afraid of what the winter will bring. We can’t turn off machines every night.

“We need to be treated like the big companies who operate 24 hours and get special rates.”

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