BELGIUM: Leading industry body EPEE has welcomed the adoption of a new energy labelling scale but has called for more rigorous market surveillance checks.

MEPs gave the green light yesterday for a more robust A to G energy efficiency scale for household appliances. The new scale will remove the current confusing A+, A++, etc, labels and should be introduced at the earliest at the end of 2019.

In addition, the EU promises future re-classifications in order to keep pace with improvements in energy efficiency. A re-classification will be triggered when 30% of products sold on the EU market fall into the top energy efficiency class A, or when 50% of these products fall into the top two energy efficiency classes A and B.

“Energy labels have successfully pulled the market towards more energy efficient products, and we welcome the move back to the A-G scale which helps consumers choose the most energy efficient products,” commented EPEE director general Andrea Voigt. “We must now ensure that the new rules are properly implemented and enforced at national level so that consumers are accurately informed and market distortions are prevented.”

Although the present scale has led to an over-population of the top classes, EPEE says it fears that under the new scale not all energy classes will be visible nor be populated to allow for sufficient differentiation between individual energy classes.

“Consumers should be clearly informed of the new rules so that they understand that the labels are rescaled, enabling them to make informed choices,” it says.

While the EC says it will also create a product database to help monitor compliance, EPEE maintains that this will not solve the problems of market surveillance, which are related to issues such as the lack of uniform procedures, test standards, accredited laboratories, technical expertise, and resources for market surveillance authorities.

Andrea Voigt insists that EPEE will work with the Commission to ensure that confidential information, such as test reports and technical documentation, are safeguarded in the newly-established database.

“In parallel, we will continue to raise awareness about the need for a robust market surveillance framework for Europe,” she added.