! Murcia Today – Santiago de Compostela Cathedral spends over 50 years without paying electricity bills

Date of publication: 01/10/2021

Council to try to recover some of the money owed by the Church amid the soaring electricity price crisis

A report from the city council of Santiago de Compostela suggested that the city’s famous cathedral has not paid its electricity bills since 1968. A city council plenary session approved a motion to investigate the reasons for which the cathedral has been allowed to use public electricity without paying for decades, and trying to recover the money.

The cathedral in the Galician city is the end point of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain and an important tourist destination for thousands of walkers every year. After completing their pilgrimage, according to legend, intrepid hikers will have their prayers answered when they are made at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. With the increasing cost of electricity in Spain, some of them would no doubt have liked free electricity too!

It turned out that free electricity was a privilege granted to the cathedral during the period of the Spanish dictatorship in the 1960s, but the local government ultimately decided to overturn the law in 2016.

The authorities of the time granted the direction of the cathedral a courtesy period to update its contracts. The cathedral took this time and waited two full years until 2018 to disconnect from the public grid. However, none of this was the subject of a recorded written agreement, and it was all agreed by word of mouth.

Now the city council of Santiago de Compostela has voted to investigate what happened and try to recover some of the unpaid money, which sometimes amounted to more than 60,000 euros per year.

The vote was far from unanimous, as the right-wing PP and the PSOE socialist parties refrained from pressuring the church to reimburse the money it might owe.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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