Update - Clearer energy labelling: improved energy efficiency
The Council reached a provisional agreement with the European Parliament on a regulation setting a framework for energy efficiency labelling. This agreement will have to be confirmed by the member states Permanent Representatives (Coreper).
The proposed regulation will replace the current legislation (Directive 2010/30/EU) retaining its main principles but further clarifying, strengthening and extending its scope.
The Energy labelling framework allows customers to be more aware of the energy efficiency and energy consumption of household appliances (such as dishwashers, televisions, fridges, etc.), which will help them to reduce their energy costs. This will also contribute to the moderation of energy demand and the achievement of the Union's 2020 and 2030 energy efficiency targets .
The regulation establishes deadlines to replace the current A+, A++, A+++ classes with an A to G scale. It also sets out a procedure for rescaling the labels based on technological development. Thus, the excessive use of higher efficiency classes is avoided in the long term, providing also incentives for innovation and pushing less efficient products out of the market.
The proposal also contains clearer rules on promotional campaigns, national incentives to promote higher classes of efficiency and aims to improve enforcement mechanisms and transparency towards customers by creating a database of products covered by energy labelling requirements.
Main elements of the agreement
Following three trilogues in July, September and October 2016 and a series of technical meetings, provisional agreement was reached on scope, definitions, market surveillance and harmonised standards. At the fourth trilogue on 21 March 2017, political agreement was also reached on:
Fixed deadlines are established for the first rescaling of all labelled products, according to three product categories:
6 years as general deadline, combined with 18 additional months aiming for the appearance of the label in shops;
15 months for the "white" products (dishwashers, fridges, washing machines), combined with 12 additional months aiming for the appearance of the label in shops and 9 years for heaters and boilers with a sunset clause of 12 years.
Once all A+ labels have disappeared from the market, further rescaling will be triggered by a surplus in the top classes, namely 30 % in class A or 50% in class A+B. At the time of rescaling the top two classes are to be left empty, aiming for a 10 year validity period of the label.
It will operate from January 2019 and it will enable market surveillance authorities of member states to enforce labelling requirements, and make sure that efficiency calculations behind the label correspond to those declared by manufacturers. The public database will focus on user friendliness and practical purposes. The compliance part of the database is delineated in order to safeguard the confidentiality and security of sensitive commercial data of manufacturers
They will be the main instrument for the rescaling procedure but implementing acts have been decided for the database and the safeguard procedure.
Minister Konrad Mizzi said: "We very much welcome this agreement. These new rules on energy labelling will help consumers to make energy savings more easily when they buy electric household appliances. This will contribute to reduced energy demand, one of the goals of the Energy Union strategy."
Following approval by the Coreper, the Chairman of Coreper will then send a letter to the Chairperson of the European Parliament's ITRE Committee.
That letter will indicate that, if the Parliament adopts at its plenary session the compromise text as approved by the Coreper, the Council will adopt the text in first reading without amendments.
The proposal on energy efficiency labelling is part of the Commission's wider Energy Union Strategy.
The conclusions of the European Council of October 2014 set an indicative target of at least 27% increase in energy efficiency at Union level in 2030. This target will be reviewed by 2020 with a view to reaching an Union level of 30%.
The Commission presented its proposal on 15 July 2015. The TTE (Energy) Council adopted a general approach on the proposal on 26 November 2015.
The European Parliament voted its negotiating mandate on 6 July 2016.