White goods and televisions will now be cheaper to run and last longer under new energy efficiency rules that have come into force today.
A new ‘right to repair’ law on electrical products, which includes white goods such as fridges, washing machines and dryers, aims to tackle “premature obsolescence” - a short lifespan deliberately built into appliances by manufacturers, leading to unnecessary and costly replacements for consumers.
What does the new law mean?
The new efficiency standards rules introduced on Thursday (1 July) means that manufacturers are now legally obligated to make separate parts for products available to consumers for the first time.
This right to a repair will mean that electrical appliances can be more easily fixed and will help to tackle the 1.5 million tonnes of electrical waste generated in the UK each year.
It is expected that by making parts for repairs readily available the lifespan of products will be extended by up to 10 years.
As such, it will avoid appliances being thrown away sooner than they should, while also cutting carbon emissions at the same time.
Climate change minister Lord Callanan said: “We can all play our part in ending our contribution to climate change, even when we’re choosing a new electrical appliance.
“Our reforms are helping consumers make more informed decisions about how eco-friendly one smart TV or dishwasher is over another, helping us reduce our carbon footprint.”
Savings of £75 per year
The government has estimated that the new standards will save the average consumer £75 per year on energy bills
The rules follow the introduction of new energy labels introduced on 1 March to help consumers find out the electrical efficiency of their appliance.
The latest labels display energy efficiency on a new scale from A-G rather than the old A+, A++ or A+++, improving on the previous system by raising the bar for each class. This means that very few appliances are now classified as A.
Minister of state for energy, Anne Marie Trevelyan, said: “The tougher standards coming in today will ensure more of our electrical goods can be fixed rather than have to be thrown away when they stop working, putting more money back in the pockets of consumers, as we build back greener.
“Our new energy efficiency framework will mean electrical products use even less energy and perform just as efficiently, saving people money on their bills and reducing carbon emissions as we work to reach net zero by 2050.”
Which appliances do rules apply to?
As of Thursday (30 June), manufacturers are legally obliged to make spare parts for electrical products available to consumers.
These items include:
- Washing machines
- Electronic displays (including televisions)
- Light sources and separate control gears
- External power suppliers
- Electric motors
- Refrigerators with a direct sales function (such as fridges in supermarkets, vending machines for cold drinks)
- Power transformers
- Welding equipment
Consumers will still need to be within warranty or guarantee to get the repairs free of charge, and in the event the warranty has expired, it is likely people will have to pay for the item to be fixed.
However, consumers will avoid having to replace the entire product for a new one, with the ability to simply fix the broken part helping to cut down significantly on costs.