MADRID, November 11 (Reuters) – Camping equipment like gas stoves and lanterns fly off the shelves of hardware stores in Spain as people fearful of energy shortages and potential blackouts prepare for winter .
Despite government assurances that there will be no shortage of supply, soaring electricity prices, in part due to shortages in Asia and Europe, and a change in pipelines carrying gas from Algeria have fueled public concerns.
Buyers told Reuters they are looking for alternatives to their grid-based devices if they are too expensive during a supply crisis or stop working with a blackout.
Beatriz Gordillo, 70, a janitor in a building in central Madrid, told Reuters she had already bought a battery-powered lamp and candles and was also considering buying a portable butane gas stove.
“I live in the basement and if the lights go out it will be terribly cold,” she said. “I’m nervous, I don’t know what I’m going to do. The price (of the stove) is a lot to me.”
Buyers also referred to a campaign by the Austrian government to educate citizens on what products to keep in the home in the event of a power outage.
Hardware stores in Madrid have installed oil lamps or butane gas heaters in their storefronts – despite government and energy companies insisting citizens have nothing to fear.
“We absolutely guarantee a supply of quality electricity and gas and this should serve to calm people who might be worried by the rumors,” Environment and Energy Minister Teresa Ribera said at the meeting. a public event last week.
Joan Batalla, president of the Spanish Gas Association, told Reuters he was aware of supply concerns, but that Spain has a more diverse gas portfolio than most European countries, with a supply of 14 countries.
However, some Spaniards take no chances.
“We don’t know where this is coming from, but the demand is brutal,” said Alberto Gonzalez, 72, owner of Ayala hardware store in an upscale neighborhood of Madrid, as he took delivery of a dozen cooks. portable gas from a manufacturer.
Previously, it took Gonzalez eight months to sell half a dozen portable gas stoves, while his latest shipment sold out in an hour and a half, he said.
French sports retailer Decathlon told Reuters last week it had noticed a “widespread” increase in demand for camping equipment in Spain, such as stoves and camping gas.
Leroy Merlin, one of Spain’s largest hardware store networks, told Reuters that since October 25, demand for lanterns has increased 230%.
Maximino Sordo, 55, another hardware store owner, said he finally moved the lamps and gas cylinders that had accumulated dust in his store for years.
“Because some have said we could all run out of electricity, people are panicking,” Sordo said.
Reporting by Corina Pons Additional reporting Isla Binnie Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky
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