Government consults on standards for electrical appliances

The government has been running a public consultation on how best to set ambitious new climate-friendly standards for electrical appliances. Most of these are already subject to Europe-wide agreements.

When the UK leaves the EU on January 1, it will be able to set its own product regulations. Previously, these have always been agreed across the entire European Union, via the Eco Design directive.

UK government statistics have long shown that the most cost-effective energy efficiency policies for every category of energy consumer are those standards set for energy-using products.

Official figures have stated that, before lockdown occurred, it had been anticipated that during 2020 Europeanproduct policies were together already saving the average UK household £153 a year, the average SME £17,000, and larger businesses around £62,000 on their fuel bills.

Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, Kwasi Kwarteng said: “After we exit the transition period, we will be able to go even further and faster than the EU to set energy efficiency rules on new appliances.

“Improving energy efficiency standards of the fridges, ovens and washing machines we all rely on will help save consumers money on their energy bills, while helping us meet our zero emissions target by 2050.”

An additional option is setting requirements for smart appliances that can automatically adapt their energy usage in response to signals, such as the price of electricity, to save consumers money.

Government analysis shows that if the UK raised the minimum energy performance standards for the 5m ovens and hobs sold annually by one energy class, from A to A+, it could stop up to 300,000 tonnes of CO2being released each year.

Other areas for improvement under consideration include developing energy labels beyond the familiar A to F ratings, to include displaying the lifetime energy costs at the point of purchase. Changes could also include providing additional information such as the current cost of running a product, its repairability, re-usability, recyclability, and durability. All helping consumers make more informed choices. 

Head of home products and services at Which?, Natalie Hitchins, welcomed the Government’s call for higher energy standards. She said: “The chance to update and adapt energy product labelling to better suit consumers and wider UK needs could lead to improved overall standards for energy efficiency, as well as more environmentally sound options.”

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