The regulations should come into effect this summer and will affect TVs and white goods such as fridges, freezers and laundry appliances. They will affect Britain only, while Northern Ireland will continue to follow EU laws.
There will be tighter regulation over how much electricity an appliance can consume, which will keep consumer bills under control. It’s estimated that this could help people to save up to £75 per year on their electricity bills. The measure is also aimed at reducing the UK’s carbon emissions to meet environmental targets.
There will also be a legal right to repairs as, for the first time, manufacturers will be required to make spare parts available so that appliances and electrical goods can be fixed instead of replaced.
According to the Government, appliances can be expected to last up to ten years longer.
The new laws will help to tackle the landfill crisis by preventing appliances from ending up on the tip before their time. The UK alone creates 1.5 million tonnes of electrical waste every year.
These are outcomes of decisions made as an EU member state two years ago. Kwasi Kwarteng, Business and Energy Secretary, said: “Our plans to tighten product standards will ensure more of our electrical goods can be fixed rather than thrown on the scrap heap, putting more money back in the pockets of consumers whilst protecting the environment.”
This follows on from recent changes to the energy ratings of large appliances, which are designed to future-proof the system and make it easier for consumers to find energy efficient products. The new system scraps the A+, A++ and A+++ ratings, in favour of a simplified system that runs from A to G. The method for measuring the energy efficiency of products has also changed.
You can find out more about the new energy ratings in our article.
How will the new regulations affect brands?
Simply put, it’s good news for consumers. Manufacturers, however, will be more or less affected by the measures depending on their stance towards the longevity of their products and their current sustainability initiatives.
Miele, for example, already offers a 10 year warranty on many of its appliances, while the makers of the environmentally-friendly cordless vacuum cleaner Halo Capsule offer spare parts and encourage users to bring their cleaner in for servicing instead of replacing it.
Other brands have a business model based on planned obsolescence and haven’t made it easy for customers to find spare parts, discouraging a buy-it-for-life mentality. They’ll be harder hit and may try to pass costs onto the consumer.
Smart appliances may be even more problematic. A Which? investigation last year found that many brands were unwilling to specify for how long they would support smart appliances with updates, with only Miele able to promise 10 years of software updates. This could mean that, if you buy a smart fridge instead of a non-connected appliance, your fridge could outlast its smart functionality.
There’s more information on new regulations on the government portal.
Want to find out how much your appliances currently cost you to run? Here’s how to calculate what you’re spending.