Government backs EU's 'Beyond A' label plans

06th October 2010 - Fine Cut

The UK government has said it will work with businesses to ensure consumers understand the new "beyond A" energy labels, after backing the EU's plans.

Plans were recently outlined to reform the energy label ratings for "wet" appliances such as fridges, freezers, dishwashers and washing machines. The product labels found on the appliances will now feature the three new "beyond A" grades of "A+", "A++" and "A+++."

The EU believe the new ratings, which will also concern televisions, will make it easier for consumers to see which appliances use the least energy and the new labelling system will give customers more differentiation between products.

Supporters of the changes believe the new labels could have a significant impact on household energy consumption because the appliances covered by the regulations make up a third of a households annual electricity bill. However, critics have argued that the "beyond A" labels would confuse customers.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) welcomed the proposals and has committed to working with retailers to ensure customers fully understand what each printed label means.

A spokesman for Defra told The Guardian: "We feel this label is an improvement from the current label and will help consumers to find the products which are genuinely efficient by adding additional classes as necessary rather than the majority of products being classed A."

"Clearly consumers will need to be informed that "A" may no longer mean the most efficient products when compared to the more efficient A+, A++ and A+++ and we are working with retailers to help them communicate messages to consumers and hope to launch the communications campaign in Spring 2011," he added.

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