23rd March 2017
A revision of the EU's energy labelling scheme has been agreed following late night talks in Brussels.
The current confusing system which includes A, A+, A++ and A+++ ratings will revert back to the original A-G scale, making labels much easier for consumers to understand. Under the existing rules a washing machine, for example, can be rated as A class but be in the fourth best category, with A+++ being the most efficient.
A new product database is also to be introduced so that manufacturers only have to upload product data once, rather than potentially have to respond to 28 separate requests from authorities in Member States, while those authorities will have instant access to the data they need. This information will be open to all, allowing app developers and retailers, for instance, to incorporate the details in product searches and filters - helping consumers to make more choices based on more than just the up-front cost.
Conservative industry spokesman Ashley Fox (South West England and Gibraltar) said: "The EU's current labelling system has become too confusing for consumers. The new labels will be much clearer and help consumers to make more informed choices on the energy using products they buy for their homes. The price of a fridge isn't just the one you pay in the shop.
"The introduction of a product database will help market surveillance authorities ensure that products are delivering the efficiency they say they will. We have seen in the motor industry how abuses can undermine legislation and ultimately consumer confidence.
"Administrative burdens for manufacturers have been kept to a minimum, ensuring that they only need to submit information strictly necessary for market surveillance."