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40,000 ac units seized in energy crackdown

SAUDI ARABIA: Around 40,000 air conditioners have been confiscated by Saudi authorities in a crack-down on contraventions of tough new energy efficiency laws. 

Ministry inspectors carry out checks for non-compliant air-conditioners
Ministry inspectors carry out checks for non-compliant air-conditioners

From the beginning of this year all imported and locally manufactured split system and window-type air conditioners being sold in the kingdom must comply with star ratings of 3-6 based on EERs of 8.5-10 and vendors must display energy efficiency cards stating their efficiencies. A minimum of four stars applies for split conditioners and three stars for window type conditioners.

Prompt inspections by Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MCI) officials in markets and shops in the first few days of the year have already led to the confiscation of 40,000 units.

Authorities confiscated 3,000 units on the very first day of the new law coming into force, seizing 10,000 on January 2 and 15,433 on January 4.

These included over 5,000 splits lacking the necessary energy efficiency card and over 20,000 splits having less than four stars. In addition, 10,595 window-type air conditioners were confiscated, including 3,531 conditioners lacking the said cards, and 7,064 units having less than three stars.

Efficiency card
The new energy efficiency card

The MCI says that the next phase of enforcement will include withdrawing samples of air conditioning units for testing to check compliance with the new energy efficiency standard.

In the weeks running up to the implementation of the new law, shops were selling units that failed to meet the new specification at up to 50% discounts. Estimates suggested that there were almost 1,000,000 non-compliant air conditioning units stockpiled at the time.

In addition to a number of local factories and indigenous manufacturers, Saudi Arabia also imported over 2.5 million residential air conditioners in 2012.

Saudi Arabia’s primary energy consumption per capita is 3.6 times higher than the world average and has been growing rapidly since 1990, propelled by demand in the residential and service sector.

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