LABELS of energy classes on home appliances confuse consumers in Serbia, especially because devices that are classified in the old way are still sold.
From March 1 this year, washing machines and dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, TVs, and from September, light bulbs in the European Union have new stickers that show which product is more energy efficient, which means the relationship between electricity consumption and work effect. This is one of the important criteria when making a purchase decision. More energy efficient appliances contribute to more rational consumption and savings in the household budget.
The main change on the new label is in simplifying the scale, ie in abolishing some classes and adding new ones, as well as in changing the methodology for determining classes. Instead of the previous marks from A to D, where A meant the device with the lowest and D the device with the highest consumption, a scale from A to G was introduced, and classes A +, A ++ and A +++ were dropped. The scale is stricter, and now very few products can reach the A mark. Products currently on the market and with the lowest consumption correspond to the new B, C or D marks. The difference in power consumption between A and G energy class can be from 30 to 80 percent.
Consumers in the European Union have been opting to buy appliances based on energy classes for more than 20 years. According to analyzes done on the EU market, choosing a more energy-efficient product can help families reduce their electricity bills by up to 285 euros a year. Customers in Serbia are especially confused by the fact that devices that have old labels, or both old and new energy classes, are for sale. The reason for this situation is that not all manufacturers have switched to the new regulation, but also that there are still models on the market that were produced before March this year, when the new regulation came into force in the EU.
There is no universal rule for converting old to new energy classes. The European Commission advises consumers to compare products based on the same scale, because otherwise it will not make sense. If the grade on the label of a device is much worse than the old one, it means that the scale has become much more demanding or that the calculation criteria have changed.
The product did not change the quality or performance. For example, according to the old methodology, energy consumption for washing machines was based on annual use, and according to the new scale, it is based on 100 washing cycles.
Marko Dragić, from the National Consumers’ Organization of Serbia, points out that customers are confused by energy classes, because they have not been sufficiently explained what those labels mean.
– The advice is for consumers to be informed in detail before buying a home appliance what each energy class means and to take that into account when making an economic decision, and not just the price – Dragic points out. – Data on the energy efficiency of the device is important, because it can reduce consumption, and thus household costs. Devices with a higher energy class are considered to be of better quality, but, of course, that does not have to be the rule.
A QR code is also required on the new energy label. By scanning it with a mobile phone, consumers can access the EU Energy Labeling Database (EPRL). There are data on the efficiency of the device and its technical characteristics. The availability of this information also makes it easier for customers to compare devices from different manufacturers. Access to this database is also possible through a standard Internet browser.
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