Energy Crisis: Italy to Ration AC, Heat to Wean Country Off Russian Gas

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Two weeks after Italians were told they’d have a choice between “air conditioning or peace”, the government appears to have made the choice for them, introducing rationing of AC and heat in a bid to reduce the nation’s dependence on imported Russian energy.

From May 21st, public buildings such as government offices and schools in Italy will be limited on the degree to which they can use heating and cooling to regulate the temperature in a bid to reduce energy use. In the summer, air conditioning units will not be set to cooler than 25 degrees centigrade (77°F) and in the winter heating will not be set to warmer than 19°C (66°F), Il Giornale reports.

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While both temperatures are easily in the comfortable range, the move away from a year-long constant indoor temperature that the advent of automatic central heating and cooling has made common in rich nations is a bid to reduce Italy’s energy consumption, and with it run down the country’s use of imported Russian gas and oil.

Announcing “Operation Thermostat” this week, Italian prime minister Mario Draghi discussed the possibility of a European Union-wide embargo on Russian gas — an energy source the EU is deeply reliant on, with some members like Germany not willing to give it up yet — saying Italy would support the measure.

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