EU wants energy labels for televisions
By Matej Hruska
The European Commission proposed on Tuesday (28 September) that after refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines, televisions will also have to be marked with a label indicating how much energy they consume.
If approved by member states and the European Parliament, it will be the first time ever that television manufacturers will have to declare the energy efficiency of their products, using an-A to-G scale.
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The label will have to be clearly shown on the TV set and in advertisements, if the price of TV is mentioned. The obligation is supposed to lead to more energy savings and CO2 emissions cuts.
"Energy labels move the market towards highly energy efficient products which is a major contribution to reaching Europe's energy efficiency, competitiveness and climate change goals. At the same time, they save money for consumers," energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger said in a statement.
According to the commission's estimates, an "A class" television compared to an average one from class D can result in €35 of saving in energy costs a year. "A product which saves energy is slightly more expensive when you buy it but in the long run you save money," a commission spokesperson said.
Further changes are also planned for refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines, which have been labelled since 1992, as around 90 percent of appliances sold in the EU today fit in the best existing class compared to two percent 18 years ago.
The EU wants to extend the A to G scale upwards with three new classes: "A+" "A++" and "A+++" for products with a better than A performance, changing the current green colour of class A to yellow.
Class A products should consume half of the electricity of class C ones and 65 percent of class D products. Each category above the A class should consume 30 percent less electricity. Currently there are no TV sets deserving better than an A mark.
An EU official, who described the labels as a "powerful tool" for market transparency, but also for companies and their marketing activities, said the new system could also be a strong motivator for businesses to innovate and introduce new products.
There are already some A+++ appliances that have not yet been introduced on the market because they were not allowed to be labelled according to their energy consumption, said the official.
Although the Commission has promised the labelling scheme will not increase prices, the official said that if the prices of top class products go up it could take around five years until the competition is able to introduce comparable products which could push prices down again.
If member states and the parliament do not object to the proposal, it should enter into force by February at the latest. Producers will be allowed to use the labels on a voluntary basis immediately after the entry into force of the regulation, their use will be mandatory on all appliances one year after entry into force of the rules.