UPDATE 1-Spain's new contingency plan aims to cut domestic gas use by up to 13.5%
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MADRID, Oct 11 (Reuters) - The Spanish government will seek to reduce national natural gas consumption by at least 5.1% and potentially by as much as 13.5% in the period between August and March under a new energy contingency plan, the energy minister said in a presentation.
The plan will promote self-generated energy and provide aid and tax breaks on renewable energy as well as subsidised loans for small businesses investing in energy efficiency, Teresa Ribera told reporters on Tuesday.
The EU has asked members of the bloc to cut gas use this winter by up to 15%,although for some countries less exposed to Russian energy dependence the figure is lower, as in the case of Spain.
Ribera set Spain's cut gas use target at 6.4%.
The government is also working on a plan to give access to lower energy prices to 1.6 million households who live in buildings with central heating.
"We have to decide whether to create a new tariff or to extend the voucher that can cover condominiums," Ribera told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
Condominiums cannot benefit from power vouchers and regulated tariffs already approved to control heating bills as their gas usage is considered too big.
Without aid, those households could see how their energy bills grow exponentially, which could lead them to energy poverty, Ribera added. (Reporting by Inti Landauro and Belen Carreno, editing by Andrei Khalip and David Evans)