Consumer Electronics and appliance vendors could be forced to undertake mandatory power output testing of flat panel TV’s and appliances following the exposure of LG as a serial “abuser” of the voluntary code claims officials from the, Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and Water.
The move comes as the NSW State Government projects price hikes for electricity will reach 65% over the next three years and research companies predict that Australians will start moving to “Smart appliances” in an effort to save money.
The move to introduce local testing could add hundreds of dollars o the cost of buying appliances in Australia say officals from the Consumer Electrobis Suppliers Association .
Last week we exclusively revealed that LG Australia was not testing appliances shipped into Australia, with the local subsidiary admitting that LG factories in Asia had shipped incorrectly labelled appliances that used more energy than advertised.
Now it’s been revealed that one in three electrical appliances audited for the Federal Government for energy efficiency is either unfit for sale or has exaggerated environmental credentials.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald of the 171 appliances tested from January 2007 to June 2008, 38 per cent failed the federal government’s minimum energy performance requirements or manufacturers understated the item’s energy consumption on initial screening.
The poorest performing categories were fridges and freezers (59 per cent), air conditioners (59 per cent) and dishwashers (27 per cent).
An exclusive new research study obtained by ChannelNews reveals that the Australian appliance market will grow significantly between 2011 and 2015 due to a new housing boom, renovations, and the upgrading to a new generation of appliances by consumers looking for energy savings.
According to Zpryme Research & Consulting who recently conducted a SmartGrid research study in Australia the Australia household smart appliance market is projected to grow from $87.0 million to $470.0 million, respectively.
Australia’s compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2011 to 2015 is projected to be 52.0 percent.
Sales of smart washers are projected to reach $101.8 million by 2015 and account for 21.7 percent of the Australia household smart appliance market.
In 2015, sales of smart refrigerators are projected to reach $77.4 million and account for 16.5 percent of the Australia market while smart dryers are projected to reach $74.5 million and account 15.6 percent of the market.
In 2015, sales of smart freezers are projected to reach $41.7 million and 8.9 percent of the market while smart dishwashers are projected to reach $34.3 million and account for 7.3 percent market share.
Sales of other smart appliances are projected to reach $140.0 million and account for 29.8 percent of the Australia household smart appliance market.
Under the current structure The Federal government administers the star rating scheme, with the states responsible for enforcement, however this could change as the Federal Government looks to introduce tougher laws governing energy use.
Serious breaches will be referred directly to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission who expected to be given new powers that could see offending companies like LG fined millions.
In the past LG Australia, who has been caught out on three occasions misleading consumers about their appliances has had their fines paid for by their parent Company.
Now consumer groups like Choice and testing laboratory operators have called for tighter enforcement to rein in offenders, many of whom are based overseas. According to ChannelNews sources several Chinese Companies are set to be targeted for testing.
Catriona Lowe, of the Consumer Action Law Centre told the Sydney morning Herald that harsher penalties were needed, along with a name-and-shame list for multiple offenders.
”Perhaps for a first offence it’s appropriate [for the manufacturer to remedy, but when companies are doing it on a serial basis, consumers have a right to that information,” she said.
A spokesman for the Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association, Ian McAlister, told ChannelNews that mandatory testing would add layers of costs to appliances” We are currently talking to the Federal Government and what we support is a new national strategy for all appliances and air conditioning. We are happy with the current situation and the one in three that the Department has outlined is not one in three of the overall market. It is only those that the department suspects are in breach of the Energy label guidelines”.
More than 75 per cent of consumers use star ratings to choose an appliance, a 2006 survey found.